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Moves to opt-out of ‘after-work’ e-mails during rest periods

Posted on August 21, 2019 by Gerald Flynn

The Government is to consider a new employment law to provide a right to switch-off e-mails when away from work or on holidays.

The move comes two years after France introduced similar rules to ensure workers have the right to switch off and no longer feel the obligation to check work-related emails outside office hours.

Minister for Business Heather Humphreys said that with the “increasing digitalisation of the workforce” it was important from a work-life balance perspective that there would be “clearly defined guidelines regarding workers’ rights to switch off after office hours”.

In 2017, the French government introduced an employment law which obliges organisations to guarantee their employees a right to disconnect from technology.

Last year business executive Gráinne O’Hara, from meat producer Kepak, was awarded €7,500 by the Labour Court over being required to deal with out-of-hours work emails, including some after midnight, which led to her working more than 48 hours a week. She was unable to have “a

a rest period of not less than 11 consecutive hours in each period of 24 hours during which he or she works for his or her employer”.

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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

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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.