Align Management Solutions
Media and Publications

Longer parental leave rights extended to 22 weeks

Posted on June 18, 2019 by Gerald Flynn

A PHASED extension to the number of week’s parents can take as parental leave under the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 increases by four weeks to 22 weeks in September.

Parental leave for parents of eligible children will increase from 18 weeks to 22 weeks from September 2019 and by a furtehrh four weeks – from 22 to 26 weeks – from 1st September 2020. Parents who have already taken some, or all of the current entitlement to 18 weeks’ parental leave, will still get the extra eight weeks of parental leave, if their child is still under 12 years old.

There will also be an increase in the age of children – an increase from 8 to 12 years of age – that parents can take parental leave for.

The new paid parental leave scheme (at PRSI rates) which allows both parents to take two weeks’ paid leave each during their child’s first year is expected to take effect from November 2019.

Confusion over new gender pay-gap reporting rules

Posted on March 24, 2019 by Miriam Ahern

Align Management Solutions welcomed the new Gender Pay Information Bill which will require businesses and firms to analyse and publish details of any gender-based pay gaps. The legal provision will initially apply to companies with 250 or more employees and the threshold will drop to 50 when the legislation becomes fully operational.

It is an issue that most employers and senior manager have yet to address. Firms in both the public and private sectors will be subject to the requirement and employers would also be obliged to set out the steps they have taken, if any, to tackle the gender pay gap.

Employers will be required to publish the following information when the Gender Pay Information Bill becomes law later in 2019:

The mean and median gap in hourly pay between men and women.
The mean and median gap in bonus pay between men and women.
The mean and median gap in hourly pay of part-time male and female employees.
The percentage of men and of women who received bonus pay.
The percentage of men and of women who received benefits in kind

The 2019 pay survey from CIPD Ireland and Industrial Relations News (IRN) found that only a quarter of companies in Ireland admitted to having a gender pay gap. The same study also found that only one in five companies had calculated the scale of the problem within their own organisation.

When all respondents in this survey were asked about whether they have a gender pay gap, only 27% responded that they had one. With a gender pay gap in Ireland at a relatively static 14%, and evidence of it across a range of sectors, this indicates the current lack of information and insight on gender pay gap analysis, and the high level of awareness raising that is needed.

Ireland has the most over-qualified employees in EU

Posted on March 18, 2015 by administrator

The European Commission is considering a report that shows that one-third (33%) of Ireland’s workers are overqualified for their current jobs. This is the highest level in the European Union and compares with just 14% in Sweden, 17% in France and 18% in Germany and Denmark.

The study of over-education suggests that we have had far too many people going to third-level colleges and universities for the types of jobs available. This, in turn, boosts the trend for better-educated, younger graduates to emigrate bringing their skills and training overseas.

The study of ‘Over-education in Europe’ was conducted by Seamus McGuinness, a research professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), assisted by economists, Adele Bergin and Adele Whelan. It was done as part of the EU’s Strategic Transitions for Youth Labour programme and will be published shortly.

Over-education describes the extent to which an individual possesses a level of education in excess of that which is required for their particular job or that is most common among other workers doing the same job.

Young people with honours degrees working in ‘dead-beat’ call centres or in minimum-wage hospitality jobs has grown in recent years. Many who were encouraged to go to university, especially to do fairly high-points courses, are now in jobs which would at most require a Leaving Cert qualification.
This weekend Prof McGuinness said that the research shows that over-education for employment is not a new factor in Ireland and that both EU labour force data and OECD education studies show Ireland top of the league. He added it may be influenced by Irish parents pushing teenagers into third-level courses rather than industrial and technical training opportunities.

It may also reflect a shift over the past 15 years by Vocational Colleges and Institutes of Technology away from work-related courses to more academic options combined with fewer industrial apprenticeship opportunities.

At an individual level over-education means lower wages, lower levels of job satisfaction and higher levels of job mobility though not necessarily to an improved job match. For the employing firm it results in lower productivity and less contented employees always looking for, if not finding, a better job.

Prof McGuinness added that over-education in employment is more of a phenomenon for graduates from poorer, or less well-connected, households. Wealthier parents with degrees in Ireland often have connections to ensure that their children get the pick of the better jobs or they have the resources to subsidise them taking unpaid ‘intern’ opportunities.

He suggested that another factor in Ireland may be a miss-match between third-level courses with the newer jobs coming on stream. Also there could be frictions or information-gaps between education options and the reality of the types of jobs being created.

Some of our colleges are churning out high-points graduates in astro-physics who end up working in banking and asset-management. Also there was a huge boost in the number of student therapists and nurses up to the health recruitment embargo in 2010 which just fed into youth migration.

Traditionally, the 26-year-old, with a first class degree in philosophy flipping meat patties in Burger King, was the popular image of ‘over-education’ but this new study shows it is running much deeper. It may be acceptable that the sweet, aspiring actress might work as a café waitress between stage jobs but having a burly molecular scientist working as a pub bouncer, or marshalling taxis at an airport terminal, is probably a waste of resources.

The problem may be getting worse as more people who cannot get a job, avail of ‘back-to-education’ courses or opt to do masters degrees for a further year or two. Having the “best and brightest in Europe” in dead-end and undemanding jobs is a recipe for serious social problems. It also leads to lower productivity and, in turn, to lower wages.

It is hard to focus on collecting rubbish bins for Greyhound or stacking warehouse shelves in Ikea when your mind is on comparative international relations or micro-biological organisms. This is the reality for one-third of those now working in Ireland.

Prof McGuinness noted that “the Inter-cert (now Group-cert) is still the standard qualification for many jobs”, based on the modal or most common education level of current employees in those positions.