First published: October 27th, 2017
Last updated: April 25th, 2023
One of the key functions of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is to conduct workplace inspections.
An inspector will typically examine employment records to ensure you are fully compliant with your employment law obligations.
Many inspections focus on compliance with immigration requirements but the WRC also conduct inspections targeting general compliance with employment legislation.
Increase awareness of employment law compliance
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.
Inspection activity tends to be targeted either at a particular employer or a particular sector or employment law. Individual employers might be targeted by WRC inspectors if a complaint is made regarding noncompliance. Other businesses might be inspected if they operate in a particular sector that is being targeted or if a piece of legislation applies to their sector.
Notice of inspections
In general, an employer will receive advance notice of an inspection by means of an appointment letter specifying a date and time. If the proposed appointment is not feasible, the employer should contact the inspector as soon as possible with their valid reason for seeking to rearrange an alternative date and time.
How to prepare for an inspection
It’s your responsibility as an employer to ensure that you fully cooperate with the inspection process and provide all relevant documentation and records in an appropriate format to assist the inspector in making their report. Once notified of an inspection, it’s vital that you prepare for the inspector’s visit.
WRC inspection notification
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 sets out the typical 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 including the terms required in the day 5 statement and under the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Regulations
- 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
Outcome of inspections
If you demonstrate satisfactorily that any non-compliance issues have been rectified, your file will be closed.
If the inspector identifies any issues, such as non-payment of wages, the WRC will seek to recover unpaid wages for all affected staff (current and former).
If an inspector makes a finding of non-compliance, your organisation could be exposed to the following penalties:
- 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.
Need help preparing for a WRC inspection?
If you have a WRC inspection coming up or need any employment law compliance advice, call us today on 01 886 0350