Landmark bill will strengthen regulation of precarious work

Employment Minister Regina Doherty

Employment Minister Regina Doherty

Landmark legislation to strengthen the regulation of precarious work has been published.

The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017 includes provisions which prohibit zero hour contracts in most circumstances.

Employment Minister Regina Doherty said: “This is a very important piece of legislation. The key objective of the Bill is to improve the security and predictability of working hours for employees on insecure contracts and those working variable hours.”

Ms Doherty added: “Good progress has been made in recent years in terms of our economic recovery, in creating new job opportunities, the majority of which are full-time positions.

“However, we must remember those people who, not by choice, are in less secure arrangements and may not know from week to week what hours they will be working. This makes it very difficult for people to plan their lives outside of work. This Bill will significantly improve the employment protections for these people.”

The bill provides for:

  • Employers to give employees five core terms of their employment within five days of commencement, such as the name and address of their employer, their pay and work hours;
  • A prohibition on zero hour contracts in most circumstances;
  • A new minimum payment for employees who are called in to work but sent home again without work;
  • A new right for employees whose contract of employment does not reflect the reality of the hours they habitually work to be entitled to be placed in a band of hours that better reflects the hours they have worked over a reference period;
  • And strong anti-penalisation provisions for employees who invoke their rights under this legislation.

Ms Doherty added: “I am looking forward to working with colleagues on all sides of both Houses of the Oireachtas to progress this Bill as expeditiously as possible in the New Year.”