National Employment Rights Agency ('NERA')

Author:Mr David Fagan
Profession:Eversheds O'Donnell Sweeney
 
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An update on the recent statistics published by NERA, the employment law watchdog tasked with ensuring that employers comply with their employment law obligations. National Employment Rights Agency ("NERA") The employment law watchdog has recently published its first quarterly report for 2010. The report contains some interesting statistics which demonstrate that NERA continues to remain active in ensuring that employers comply with their employment law obligations. Brief Background to NERA NERA is an office of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. It is aimed at ensuring employers comply with employment rights legislation, through the five main functions of Information, Inspection, Enforcement, Prosecution and the Protection of Young Persons. Visiting inspectors usually review various employment records to check for compliance with employment statutes covering areas such as minimum pay, payment of overtime and annual leave and working time records. NERA's main goal is to require compliance with the legislation and rectification of the breach. In practical terms, this means a payment by the employer of any arrears due to employees. The particular arrears due will depend upon the legislation that has been breached. It does not currently have powers to impose fines although can, in the case of extreme and exceptional breaches refer cases for prosecution to the Chief State Solicitors Office. Most Frequent Enquiries According to the report, the most frequent enquiries received by NERA in the first quarter of this year are in the areas of redundancy, working hours, terms of employment, unfair dismissal and payment of wages. 2010 Inspections The report has confirmed that, during the period January to March 2010, NERA inspectors have carried out inspection activity involving over 700 individual employers. Unpaid wages due to employees totalling €435,451 were recovered. Most inspections involved examination of an employer's compliance across several pieces of employment legislation. Sectoral Differences By sector, the areas with the most inspections were catering and construction. The highest rate of compliance was found in contract cleaning and security, which achieved a compliance rate of 50% each. The lowest compliance rates were...

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