Over the last number of months, there has been a rise in inspections by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). Many inspections are to ensure compliance with immigration requirements along with overall compliance with employment legislation.
The primary function of the WRC is to inform employers and employees of their respective responsibilities and entitlements. In order to ensure compliance, the WRC works with individual employers through the WRC inspection process.
An inspection can take place for a number of reasons. A complaint can be made regarding noncompliance that can trigger the inspection. A company can be targeted as there can be a focus on a particular sector or piece of legislation.
In general, an employer will receive advance notice of an inspection by means of an appointment letter specifying a date and time. In the event that the proposed appointment is not feasible, the employer should contact the inspector as soon as possible with their valid reason to rearrange an alternative date and time.
It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that they fully cooperate with the inspection process and provide all relevant documentation and records in an appropriate format in order to assist the inspector in making a determination in the process. Thus, it is imperative that adequate preparation is conducted prior to the inspection.
A template with a number of questions typically accompanies the notification letter of the proposed inspection indicating to the employer what records will be required for the purpose of the inspection.
The following list depicts the standard records which an inspector will require access to during the course of an inspection:
- Employer registration number with Revenue
- The full name, address and PPS Number for each employee (full-time, part-time, casual, fixed term etc.)
- There is meant to be a contract of employment or statement for each employee detailing the main terms and conditions of their employment
- Payroll details (including Gross and Net pay, rate per hour/rate of piecemeal, overtime if applicable, deductions, shift and other premiums and allowances where paid, commission and bonuses, etc.)
- Copies of employees’ payslips
- Employees’ job classification or job title
- Dates of commencement and where relevant, date on which employment was terminated
- Hours of work for each employee (including starting and finishing times, meal breaks and rest periods). These may be in the form of Form OWT1 (or in a form that is substantially similar)
- List of employees who are under 18, including hours they have worked, break times and start and finish times. Also including information available for employees who are under 18 on their rights.
- Whether board and/or lodgings are provided and relevant details
- Details of annual leave entitlements to be received by each employee including how public holidays are applied
- Any documentation that may be necessary to prove compliance with relevant employment legislation
In such cases where an employer demonstrates satisfactorily that the matter has been rectified, the file is closed.
In the event that there is reason to believe that employees have been underpaid in regards to the law, the WRC will seek to recover unpaid wages for all affected staff (current and former).
If an inspector makes a finding of non-compliance the following can be issued;
- The issue of a contravention report – this gives employers the details of breaches and instructions on how to rectify them, along with a time frame for compliance.
- The issue of compliance notice – this will outline what the employer is not compliant with and give them a time frame for compliance.
- The issue of a fixed payment notice payment of up to €2,000.
- Prosecution where employers refuse to comply with the law, fail to cooperate with the inspection process, and/or who have been found repeatedly in breach of the law.
- Notification of a third party – the WRC may notify Revenue and the Department of Social Protection of any relevant breaches.
If you have any queries regarding WRC inspections please contact the advice line on 01 886 0350