The Workplace Relations Bill 2014, which the government hopes to enact in the coming months, aims to deliver ‘a world-class workplace relations service which is simple to use, independent, effective, impartial, cost-effective and provides for workable means of redress and enforcement, within a reasonable period of time.’
Although there will likely be amendments, as the Bill passes through the Dail and Senate, the Bill proposes the following key reforms:
- The functions currently fulfilled by the Labour Relations Commission, the Equality Tribunal, the Employment Appeals Tribunal (at first instance) and the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) will be amalgamated into a single body to be known as the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
- The WRC which will deal with Workplace complaints in the first instance, and the Labour Court which will hear all appeals from the WRC.
- The Labour Court will be re-organised and assume the appeals function of the EAT.
- Existing functions of the Labour Relations Commission (including Conciliation, Workplace Mediation, and Advisory Services) will be carried out by the WRC.
- Once they have completed current cases, the Labour Relations Commission and the Employment Appeals Tribunal will be dissolved.
What is key to be aware of, is that this Bill places a strong emphasis on the early resolution of disputes. Thus an Early Resolution Service will be offered by the WRC in appropriate cases prior to a decision being made. Although participation in such early resolution procedures is voluntary, the agreement will be confidential and binding on both parties.
It is proposed that there will be a new common procedure for the presentation of complaints under employment rights legislation.
The above summary is a brief snapshot of highlights from the Workplace Relations Bill 2014. Any individual who wishes to obtain more details should consult the Bill. As a final comment I should repeat that there may well be amendments to the ultimate legislation as it passes through the Oireachtas.
We at HRforSMEs can help provide clarity around the Workplace Relations Bill as it progresses over the coming months. We also advise on all areas of employment law. For more information contact us today at 01-278-8980/086-256-0082 or info@HRforSMEs.ie