Employment Rights Policy

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Employment Rights Policy

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has responsibility for employment rights policy and legislation since September 2017, when the function transferred from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, now renamed as the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Employment Rights Policy Unit

This Unit transferred to the newly named Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in September 2017.
The role of the Unit is

  • to ensure that the State's suite of employment rights legislation remains relevant and fit for purpose and is updated to reflect both national and international developments, including at European Union, Court of Justice and International Labour Organisation level, and
  •  to advise the Minister on policy matters relating to employment rights and to serve the political system in respect of this area.

The Unit has lead responsibility on Employment Rights - Policy and Legislation. This covers responsibility for 11 separate primary Acts governing employment rights in Ireland.

The Unit seeks to ensure that the suite of employment rights provides adequate protections for employees while taking into account the core business needs of employers. It also serves to encourage compliance among employers.

The Unit however is not responsible for responding to specific queries from the general public relating to employment rights issues or the enforcement of an individuals employment rights.

Instead this function rests with the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) who is responsible for the dissemination of information in regard to employment rights and ensuring compliance with and enforcement, where necessary, of employment rights. The WRC comes under the remit of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation with whom this Department has a formal Memorandum of Understanding in promoting employment rights.

Employment Rights Issues / Queries in relation to Employment Rights

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is an  independent, statutory body which was established on 1st October 2015 under the Workplace Relations Act 2015 (No. 16 of 2015). The WRC provides information on industrial relations and rights and obligations under Irish employment and equality legislation.

One of the key objectives of the WRC is to provide impartial information on a wide variety of employment rights legislation to employers and employees by telephone, in writing, through its website and through ongoing public awareness programmes. In addition, the WRC is responsible for monitoring a range of employment rights through its Inspection Service.

Where an employee considers that their rights have been breached, the individual can bring a claim under the appropriate legislation to the WRC.

The WRC Service Section can be contacted at Lo-call: 1890 80 80 90 or via its website - at www.workplacerelations.ie

Complaints in relation to alleged contraventions of employment and equality legislation may be presented to the WRC via the Commission’s e-Complaint Facility, which can be accessed at www.workplacerelations.ie.
Depending on the nature of the complaint, the matter will be referred for either investigation or adjudication.

Employment Rights Legislation

Legislative Acts for which Employment Rights Policy Unit has lead responsibility

  • Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018
  • Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act 1973
  • Protection of Employment Act 1977
  • Payment of Wages Act 1991
  • Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994
  • Organisation of Working Time Act 1997
  • Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001
  • Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003
  • Protection of Employment (Exceptional Collective Redundancies and Related
  • Matters) Act 2007
  • Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012
Last modified:07/06/2019