Changes to Zero Hour Contracts

Changes to Zero Hour Contracts

On May 2nd 2017 the Irish Government approved draft legislative proposals brought forward by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, and the Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen, in response to the commitment in the Programme for Government to address problems caused by the increased casualization of work and to strengthen the regulation of precarious work.
The draft proposals, which address zero hour contracts, low hour contracts, banded hours and related matters, are targeted at low-paid workers in particular.
The proposals include an amendment to the Organisation of Working Time Act which will prohibit zero hour contracts in most circumstances.
The zero hour contract has been a controversial topic in Ireland over the last number of years. Employees often feel unhappy with their uncertainty as to hours they will work in the coming weeks. A recent survey conducted by the CIPD states how 46% of employees on zero-hour contracts have had shifts cancelled at very short notice.
The Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD, said that “Developing policy proposals on employment rights is a complex matter. A balance needs to be found between protecting the rights of employees and avoiding unintended consequences on business, particularly small and medium-sized businesses.”
Currently, 15 terms of employment are required to be given by employers to employees within two months. Instead, it is proposed that employers must inform employees in writing, within 5 days of commencement of employment, of the following 5 core terms of employment:
  • The full name of the employer and employee
  • The address of the employer
  • The expected duration of the contract (where the contract is temporary or (fixed-term)
  • The rate of method of calculating pay, and
  • What the employer reasonably expects the normal length of the employee’s working day and week will be
The draft legislation will now be referred to the Office of the Attorney General for priority drafting of a Bill.
If you have any questions in relation to Zero Hour Contracts, please call us on 01 886 0350

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