New legal protections for casual workers come into effect

The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 commenced on 4 March 2019.

The Act is designed to improve the security and predictability of working conditions for employees on part time or limited hour contracts.

The Act has five major provisions:

1. Written statement of terms and conditions of employment

Employers are now required to provide all new employees a written statement setting out five core terms no later than five days of commencement of employment. These five core terms are:

  • The names of the employer and the employee
  • The address of the employer or its registered office
  • The expected duration of a temporary contract of employment or the date on which the contract expires (if a fixed term)
  • The rate or method of calculation of the employee’s remuneration and the pay reference period for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Act 2000
  • The number of hours which the employer reasonably expects the employee to work in each day, and each week

2. Limits on so-called zero hours contracts

Employers will no longer be able to require employees to be available for work except in very limited circumstances (such as emergencies).

3. Strengthening the rules around minimum payments

If an employer fails to require an employee to work 25% of their contracted hours, the employee is entitled to a minimum payment (equivalent to 25% of the contract hours or 15 hours, whichever is lesser, and calculated at three times the national minimum wage). This entitlement does not apply to employees who are required to make themselves available on an “on-call” basis.

4. Introduction of banded hours

The Act enables employees, where their contract does not reflect the hours they have actually worked in the previous 12 months, to request to be placed in a block of hours each week.

5. Anti-penalisation measures

The Act introduces much stronger anti-penalisation provisions within the Organisation of Working Time Act and the Terms of Employment (Information) Acts in order to protect employees looking to exercise these new rights.

Employers should ensure that they are compliant with the Act. If you have more questions, contact Seán O’Halloran.