15 November 2016

Labour spokesperson on Labour Affairs and Workers Rights, Senator Ged Nash, will tomorrow lead a debate in the Seanad on a Bill that has the potential to transform the lives of working people by providing greater certainty and employment security for thousands of atypical workers in sectors such as hospitality, retail and the care sector.

 Speaking ahead of the Seanad debate on the Protection of Employment (Uncertain Hours) Bill 2016, Senator Nash said:

“One of the key features of this Bill is an entitlement to request the correction of employment terms so that the stated particulars of weekly hours of work reflect the pattern of work actually done each week in the previous six months. This is an important new provision which would bring an end to the all too familiar situation of people experiencing entrapment in a succession of low-paid, low hours arrangements with little or no legal protections. 

“Evidence from the University of Limerick study into the prevalence of zero-hour and low hour contracts which I published one year ago points to the evolution of employment relationships of an atypical and casual nature concentrated in areas such as hospitality, retail and the social care sector.

“We should be alarmed that these types of arrangements are occurring at the edge or even outside of our existing laws. Women are particularly affected by this phenomenon.

“Some of these uncertain hours practices have escaped Ireland’s suite of employment rights protections, such as the Organisation of Working Time Act. I believe workers are being exploited because of the deficits which currently exist. This Bill means that the State now has the opportunity to catch up with the evolution of these arrangements and to legislate to better protect people who work hard for a living.

 “I am determined to complete the job I started in office. Enactment of this legislation, which will be debated this week will represent a major transformation of employment law protection for vulnerable workers in Ireland.”




Some key features of the Bill include:

  • New rules whereby periods of ‘lay-off’ between fixed term contracts will be deemed to represent continuity of service, rather than broken service
  • Where an employer registers an employee under the PAYE system, then the employee will be regarded as continuing in employment until the date specified in a notice to Revenue of cessation of employment
  • Important measures to include casual work in the calculation of continuous employment
  • An entitlement to request the employer to correct the employment terms so that the stated particulars of weekly hours of work reflect the pattern of work actually done per week in the previous six months
  • A Workplace Relations Commission complaints procedure to ensure fair and equitable application of cases under the legislation
  • An important anti-victimisation measure protecting workers from invoking their rights under the legislation
  • An exemption from the legislation in cases where employers and trade unions have negotiated sectoral employment orders or registered employment agreements, or where an employment regulation order has been signed as a result of a Joint Labour Committee initiative



Contact: Labour Party Press

01-618 3989

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