Sunday, 13th October 2019

Monthly Archives: July 2013

How to avoid an unfair dismissal claim when making someone redundant

Redundancy is a minefield if you take chances. You must remember that employees now know their rights better than ever before. They have lived through a time when friends, family and work colleagues have been laid off - there is also a lot of information readily available for them online.

Redundancy, Avoiding Unfair Dismissal

Employees have picked up a great deal of information about their rights. We say to Employers "your employees know their rights - do you?" Some businesses are now facing into a second phase of redundancies. In that instance, you can be guaranteed that staff know their entitlements even better than they did for the first phase. If you don't follow process, or if you make a false move, it could cost you - you could quite easily end up in the Labour Courts with an Unfair Dismissal case on your hands.

Unfair Dismissal cases are very common these days and they are very difficult for employers to win as the onus is on the employer to prove that he or she made the correct choices when letting someone go. Proving that a redundancy, for instance, was necessary is essential - making the position, not the person, redundant is crucial - an employer cannot make an employee redundant and then hire a new staff member to carry out the same tasks the following week. Commissioners will scrutinize every detail and decision and will want to see that the employer has dotted every "I" and crossed every "T".

Employers have a 50/50 chance of leaving Labour Court hearings with a large figure to pay out - it is important to remember that a huge number of cases are also settled prior to court proceedings so the odds are heavily stacked against the employer coming away from the Court with no fine on their hands.

Unfair Dismissal, Labour Court, Redundancy

Without a doubt redundancies can be required to keep a business viable. Employers need to ensure that they make their decisions based on what's best for the business - not because they want to get rid of Danny the storeman who you feel hasn't done a tap for years. Before making people redundant, look at the business overall and see what areas are suffering a downturn, what areas are picking up, and how best you should react to changed circumstances.

A Selection Matrix will help to clarify your thoughts and take the personalities out of the decision - and also ensure that no-one can accuse you of using redundancy simply to remove people you don't like from your company. As a business owner or manager, you are entitled to make decisions that make business sense. So establish the logic of any decision before you make it.

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HR for Small Business in Ireland

Since 2001 The HR Company, B2E Ltd. has been successfully providing a cost-effective HR and Employment Law Advice support service(s) for small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) across Ireland. The HR Company also assists several large corporations and multinationals with their HR operations.

HR Support for SMEs

 

With so many pieces of employment legislation in place in Ireland it is a challenge for companies to ensure that they are fully compliant on all counts. The HR Company is an Irish-owned company headed up by Philip Carney, former head of HR for Microsoft’s European Operations Centre, and Angela O’Grady, former Staffing and Recruiting Manager. A team of 20 HR specialists provide peace of mind for Employers by guiding them on all aspects of Irish Employment Law.

 

 

The HR Company provides a very affordable 24/7 protection service to those who wish to offload the burdens and risk associated with HR activities.  Whether it relates to disciplinary procedures, annual leave, redundancy or anything in between; a dedicated account manager is at the end of a phone to guide Employers and help insulate companies whenever a query about best practices in HR arises.

 

Not only does The HR Company provide bespoke employment documentation to ensure companies pass a National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) inspection, tailored disciplinary letters and any other relevant material are prepared by dedicated account managers to ease the load on the Employer. The HR Company acts as the eyes and ears of the Employer on all HR related issues – protecting companies by keeping them informed on any relevant legislation updates.

 

In this era of increased employee litigation employees know their rights – companies should shield themselves against the risk of a costly dispute by arming themselves with the best on-call support.

 

The HR Company, HR support in Ireland

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Should fathers be able to share in maternity leave entitlements?

Under Irish Legislation mothers are currently entitled to 26 weeks paid maternity leave. They can also avail of a further 16 weeks (unpaid) if they wish to.

There is no obligation on mothers to avail of the full 26 weeks, however, a minimum of 2 weeks must be taken before the end of the week of the baby's expected birth and at least 4 weeks must be taken after the birth.

Maternity Leave Entitlements Ireland, Maternity LeaveOn 10th July 2013 Senator Mary White published a Bill which proposes that fathers be given the opportunity to share in the maternity leave afforded to mothers.

The Legislation, entitled the ‘Parental Leave Bill 2013’, recommends that the current maternity leave system is revised to enable a woman, if she wishes, to transfer a portion of her 26 weeks leave (and associated benefits) to the father of the child.

Senator Mary White believes that “The greatest challenge facing the country is to create employment to offer hope and a potential living to the 300,000 unemployed and the young people in our schools and colleges. The only way we can create jobs is to encourage new enterprise.”

The aim of the Bill is to inspire female entrepreneurship in order to assist in the creation of jobs in Ireland – 50% of the population in Ireland is women and yet the number of Irish male early-stage entrepreneurs is approximately 2.5 times that of the female equivalent.

Senator White explained that women currently face more obstacles than men when becoming entrepreneurs and developing businesses. She hopes to minimise these obstacles in order to make the most of this untapped resource.

Typically, in this nation, women tend to be tasked with raising young children - Senator White wants to modify this by giving fathers the opportunity to share in the associated responsibilities. Allowing fathers to share in the maternity leave entitlements currently offered to women may begin to change the trend of the male-dominated entrepreneurial world going forward.

The Senator said “This flexibility in the maternal leave scheme would allow women entrepreneurs to devote more time to their enterprises.”

It appears as though the “Parental Leave Bill 2013” is just one of a number of new initiatives that is contained in the forthcoming policy paper promoting women in entrepreneurship.

 

 

 

 

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JobsPlus – More Jobs at a Lower Cost

 On 1st July 2013 the Department of Social Protection launched a new Scheme which offers employers rewards for recruiting individuals who have been unemployed for a considerable period of time. The JobsPlus incentive encourages companies to employ the long-term unemployed and in return offers substantial cash grants to the employer.

JobsPlus replaces the existing Revenue Job Assist Schemes as well as the Employer Job PRSI exemption.

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The list of individuals who have experienced long-term unemployment has grown significantly in recent years and the objective of this incentive is to motivate employers to recruit from this grouping first.

The cash grant will be payable monthly (in arrears) via Electronic Fund Transfer over a period of two years. This payment will only continue to be made if the recruit in respect of whom the grant is being paid remains in the same employment.

There are two different levels of grant – the higher rate will only be paid in respect of those who have been out of employment for more than 2 full years.

The figure being paid in respect of those who have been unemployed for 12-24 months is a total of €7,500 per person.

The grant in respect of those who have been out of the workforce for more than 2 years is €10,000 per person.

 

 

The critical eligibility criteria for JobsPlus are:

 

  • The roles offered must be “Full Time” employments – offering more than 30 hours per week (and spanning at least 4 days per week).

 

  • The employers concerned must be fully compliant with Irish tax and employment laws.

 

  • The roles given to the long-term unemployed must not displace current employees – however, the grant is available to employers who are filling new vacancies as a result of natural turnover.

 

  • The period of unemployment must be continuous (and a minimum of 12 months) in order for the recruit to be eligible.

 

JobsPlus - hiring the long-term unemployed

Employers are not limited in terms of the numbers that they can employ from the long-term unemployment register.

As mentioned JobsPlus replaces the existing Revenue Job Assist Schemes as well as the Employer Job PRSI exemption – Beneficiaries of these schemes will, however, continue to receive the tax and Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) exemption privileges for as long as they are entitled by the terms and conditions of these schemes to do so.

 

 

 

Employers are able to register for the JobsPlus Incentive by filling out a form on www.jobsplus.ie.

Employers will also be able to instruct prospective employees to fill out an online application to confirm that they are eligible for the JobsPlus Scheme.

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Protections for Whistleblowers in Ireland

The Protected Disclosure Bill 2013 was published on July 3rd 2013 by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, T.D. The Bill is to establish a comprehensive legislative framework protecting whistleblowers in all industries in Ireland.

The purpose of the legislation is to protect workers who raise concerns regarding wrongdoing (or potential wrongdoing) that they have become aware of in the workplace. The Bill will offer significant employment and other protections to whistleblowers if they suffer any penalties at the hands of their employer for coming forward with information of wrongdoing in the workplace.

 

Whistleblowers, Protection for whistleblowers in Ireland

The legislation, which is due to be enacted in the autumn, closely reflects best practices in whistleblowing protection in developed nations around the world.

According to Minister Howlin the Bill “should instil all workers with confidence that should they ever need to take that decisive step and speak-up on concerns that they have about possible misconduct in the workplace, they will find that society values their actions as entirely legitimate, appropriate and in the public interest”.

Some key elements included in the Bill are as follows:

Compensation of up to a maximum of five years remuneration can be awarded in the case of an unfair dismissal that came about as a result of making a protected disclosure. This would be a massive step forward in Ireland’s attempt to match the standards set by other established nations.

It is important to note that limitations relating to the length of service that usually apply in the case of Unfair Dismissals are set aside in the case of protected disclosures.

As a result of this Bill whistleblowers will benefit from civil immunity from actions for damages and a qualified privilege under defamation law.

The legislation provides a number of disclosure channels for potential whistleblowers and stresses that the disclosure, rather than the whistleblower, should be the focus of the attention.

Protections for the whistleblower remain in place even where the information disclosed does not reveal any wrongdoing when examined. Deliberate false reporting, however, will not be protected.

These measures, when enacted, should encourage more people to come forward, and feel comfortable doing so, when they become aware of (or suspect) any criminal activity, misconduct or wrongdoing in the workplace.

Protection for whistleblowers in Ireland

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Compensation and Benefits Management in Ireland

In a competitive job market like this compensation and benefits take on an added level of significance. The management of benefits and compensation can also take on an added level of complexity..... they can cause added stress for an already pressurised environment. 

Compensation and Benefits, ?Benefits and Compensation Administration

The HR Company removes any complexity from the scenario. We take the guess-work out of decision making by surveying the marketplace and keeping you informed of everything you need to be aware of.

On top of salary compensation and benefits can include items such as a company car, bonuses, sales incentives like commission, extra paid time off, medical insurance, stock options and much more. It can be very difficult to stay on top of this HR function.

We take the headache out of the administration of compensation and benefits for you by providing you with a variety of specialised back-office services. These include everything from processing pension and medical plans to managing and organising your company’s Organisational Health Index.

Here is a list of some of the services we offer to assist companies with their compensation and benefits management:

•Pension/medical membership processing

•Salary survey, planning & administration

•Salary/Bonus/Stock system processing

•Company Car policy management

•Mortgage application processing

•Maternity/Parental Leave benefits

•Flexible benefits

•Advise on, manage and organise annual Benefits and Expo & Health Awareness Programme

•Manage & organise company OHI

•Manage Outplacement Programme

•Tailored generation of reports & statistics

Compensation and Benefits Administration, Management of Compensation and Benefits

Our goal is to ensure your HR functions run as smoothly as possible so that you can focus on the ensuring the other aspects of your business are running as smoothly as possible.

If you need  guidance or support with benefit and compensation administration then look no further than The HR Company.

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Asking to be fired – Why an employer must not adhere to this request

An employee recently requested that his employer dismiss him. When asked why he wanted to be let go the employee explained that he wished to spend more time at home helping his sick wife with the children and assisting with the domestic duties. The employer was considering doing as the employee asked as he felt that the motives behind the request were practical.

Asking to be fired, unfair dismissal

The employer, however, took a few moments to think about the request. He concluded that the employee had been a diligent worker and so was reluctant to see the employee leave his role. In the hopes that it might encourage the employee to consider changing his mind the employer decided to offer the employee a small pay rise and to be more flexible with him in terms of his working hours. After the employer made the offer the employee became frustrated and again asked the employer to fire him.

The employer was confused as to why the employee was so adamant that he wanted to be fired as he had always seemed quite satisfied in his role. The employer also wondered why the employee didn’t simply resign if he wanted to go so badly. The employer decided to seek some advice on the situation prior to making his final decision. After some research the employer realised that this request was a common one and that motives behind this type of request were typically financially-based ones.

 

Asking to be fired, Unfair Dismissal, EAT

If an employee leaves employment voluntarily and without a reasonable cause then he or she may be disqualified from getting Jobseeker's Benefit for 9 weeks, however, if the employee is dismissed from employment then he would be entitled to claim benefits earlier.

Social Welfare Fraud is a serious offense.

The employee became extremely angry when the employer refused to dismiss him. Had the employer satisfied the request and fired the employee the individual could have lodged a case for unfair dismissal. The employer was fortunate that he sought advice after receiving the request from the employee. Due to the fact that the employee had not done anything to warrant his dismissal it is likely that a claim would have succeeded in an Employment Appeals Tribunal scenario – Unfair Dismissal can lead to an award of up to 2 years’ salary.

Employers receiving requests along these lines should seek advice from Irish Employment Legislation specialists prior to taking any action.

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Update on Employers Deducting Local Property Tax (LPT) at source

Some companies have recently received correspondence threatening legal proceedings if they deduct Local Property Tax (LPT) from employees’ salaries. The Revenue Commissioners, however, have confirmed that any legal proceedings will be strenuously contested by the State.

Section 65 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act, 2012, states that employers are statutorily obliged to comply with any direction that may be issued to them to deduct tax in accordance with the below statutory provision. 

“Where a liable person is in receipt of emoluments  ... the Revenue Commissioners may direct an employer to deduct, in a period specified in the direction, local property tax payable by the liable person from the net emoluments payable to the liable person by the employer”

LPT, Local Property Tax

Further clarification of what Employers need to know regarding LPT:

Any employee who has not yet paid, or started to pay, their applicable Local Property Tax (LPT) will have mandatory deduction at source from salary or pension imposed. Those who failed to submit their LPT return on time or failed to meet the relevant payment obligations by 1st July 2013 are under scrutiny.

Employers and occupational pension providers alike are obliged to ensure deduction at source. Revenue should have notified the employers/ pension providers of the outstanding sums via the P2Cs (The P2C is the employer copy of the tax credit certificate in respect of the individual employee).

The relevant sum is to be deducted from the employee’s net pay.

The employer is to commence deducting the LPT after receipt of the relevant P2C (after July 1st 2013). The relevant P2Cs should have been issued to most employers by mid June 2013. The LPT to be deducted is illustrated at the bottom of the P2C. The deductions must be made on a consistent basis over the 6 month period between July and December 2013. If the employee is paid weekly then the LPT deduction should be made weekly and if the employee is paid monthly then the deduction should be applied monthly.

For example if the LPT to be deducted is €300 then an employee who is paid weekly will see €300/26=€11.538 deducted from their weekly net salary (Any rounding should be in favour of the employee) - If an employee owing €300 is paid monthly then he or she is due to pay €300/6=€50 on a monthly basis. 

Any refunds of LPT will be dealt with by Revenue – Employers are not to make any refunds of this kind.

LPT, Local Property Tax, LPT Employer's Responsibilities

If the employer receives the P2C detailing LPT after the July payroll has run then the total LPT should be deducted from August through December - the remaining 5 month period.

Employers are obliged to keep a record of the applicable LPT that they deduct for Revenue and are required to account for the figures on the Forms P30 and P35 in respect of the employees concerned. The employer is also responsible for recording the appropriate LPT data for employees on their payslips as well as P60’s and P45s.

Where there is a Court Order on file prior to the issuance of the P2C this must take precedence over the LPT deduction. However, if the P2C is issued prior to a Court Order being made then the LPT deduction will preside. Where the Court Order and P2C are issued or made effective from the same date the Court Order takes precedence. The LPT payment, however, takes precedence over all non-statutory deductions like Health Insurance.

The Employer/Pension provider cannot take an instruction from the employee to stop deducting LPT from his or her salary – the employer is obliged to deduct the applicable LPT until the P2C shows that no further payment is due. If an employee would like to pay the relevant tax via a different method he or she should contact the LPT Branch and make these arrangements – then the employer will be issued with an updated P2C telling them to stop the deduction from pay/pension. Similarly if the employee feels as though there is a discrepancy in the amount of LPT they are being charged he or she should discuss this with the LPT Branch not the employer. If an adjustment needs to be made to the P2C then a revised directive will be issued to the employer – until such a directive is received the employer should continue to deduct the original LPT figure.

According to Revenue “Where there are shortfalls due to insufficient net salary in a particular pay period(s) the employer should adjust the amount of LPT to be deducted per pay period (for the remaining pay periods in the year) to ensure the full amount of LPT is collected by the end of the year. Once this is done, the employer will not be required to notify Revenue about the shortfall. However, employers must notify Revenue in writing (e.g. by Secure Email to employersLPT@revenue.ie) where there will be insufficient income to satisfy the employee’s full LPT liability for the year, based on the expected income for the employee.”

Revenue has established a helpline for employers and pension providers alike to assist with their queries on how this LPT deduction at source will operate.

The Employer Helpline is 1890 25 45 65.

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Former Employee Awarded €58k for Unfair Dismissal

Unfair Dismissal, Unfairly Dismissed

 

On the basis of a decline in sales within an exhaust business the Finance Director decided that a redundancy was required. There were 4 employees who generated sales for the company. The Finance Director believed the company only required 3 people to perform the sales roles.

The 4 individuals were informed that their positions were at risk and they were given a copy of the selection matrix that was used to determine who would be made redundant. The 4 employees all agreed that the matrix (after a slight amendment suggested by one of the employees concerned) was a fair and equitable way of assessing them. The sales director scored the matrices. The employee who scored the lowest was informed that he was to be made redundant.

The employee who was made redundant contended that the selection process had not been fairly operated. The Finance Director had not raised the issue of the exhaust centre’s declining profitability with him before deciding to make someone redundant. He was not told his sales were down.

The employee who was made redundant was at a disadvantage because the 3 other employees had a closer affinity with one another than with him and therefore he scored lower on team work.

While the employee who was made redundant did not object to the selection matrix – he did, however, feel as though it had not been scored fairly. His extensive product knowledge was not taken into account. Also not taken into account was his City & Guilds qualification.

 

Unfairly dismissed, unfair dismissal, fired

After his redundancy the employee learned that the company had a new operation in Cork. A former employee was recruited to manage the new operation. The claimant was not told about the new operation or asked to apply for any of the jobs there.

The claimant established loss for the Tribunal.

The Tribunal carefully considered all evidence in the case. It was clear that management did not speak to the employee when they determined that his position was not profitable.

When it came to the process of selecting an employee for redundancy, the method chosen put the employee at a distinct disadvantage.

The Tribunal found that the selection process was unfair and therefore the dismissal of the claimant was unfair. The claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007 succeeded and the claimant was awarded the sum of €58,000.00 in addition to any payment he had already received.

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Managing Training Administration for Multinationals

We all know how important it is to get the right people to the right place at the right time – this becomes even more of an issue when it comes to business. In fact, it is absolutely critical to get the balance right where business is concerned. 

Organising people is not an art form – but it can be extremely delicate work at times. Ensuring employees have everything they need when they get where they are going is an even trickier task. This is the very reason we provide training administration management services for multinationals and large companies in Ireland.

Once you have analysed and planned your company’s specific training needs The HR Company will fully administer your entire training process…. from the scheduling of people, to the scheduling of venues and equipment. We even assess programme content and provide outstanding maintenance of training records.

 

Managing Training Administration

 

Some of our services are listed below:

Management of all training vendors

•Scheduling of training programmes

•Management of training venues and facilities

•Maintenance and administration of training records

•Feedback assessment of programme content

•Establishment of a single point of invoicing for training programmes

•Succession planning

•Tailored generation of reports and statistics

 

If you have any queries at all please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

 

 

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