Pioneering reforms on precarious work will transform lives

19 December 2018

Senator Ged Nash has said that the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2018 which passed in the Dáil this evening will transform the lives and living standards of tens of thousands of workers on casual and low hours contracts.

Sen. Nash said:

“These new laws have been four years in the making. These reforms started life as a Labour Party proposal in the summer of 2014 when I initiated, as Minister for Employment, the first ever comprehensive examination of the prevalence of zero hours and low hours contracts undertaken in Ireland with an expert team from the University of Limerick.

“The recommendations I brought to government in early 2016 are by and large reflected in the legislation passed today.

“This new set of radical employment rights reforms will mean that from next year, workers who are currently going to bed on a Sunday night not knowing how many hours they will work that week and consequently what they will earn will have much more certainty over their hours and security over their incomes.

“This is the least that people who work hard for a living should be entitled to expect.

“My concerns remain though over the robustness of this legislation insofar as it covers the insidious phenomenon of ‘if and when’ contracts which we identified in the University of Limerick study.

“I will be maintaining a close eye on the operation of the legislation in this context.

“Thanks to an amendment in the Seanad from the Labour Party, the Act will come into operation next March and not in June as the government had originally intended.

“Those in precarious work in Ireland have waited long enough for greater legal protection and an enforceable floor of decency in terms of working hours for all workers.

“My Labour Party colleagues and I are proud to have pioneered this process which will transform the lives and living standards of tens of thousands of workers in areas such as retail and hospitality.”

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