Proposed Legislation Needs ‘Significant Changes' to Deliver for Workers'

17 May 2018

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There must be “significant changes” to proposed legislation on ‘Zero Hour’ and ‘If and When’ contracts if the measures are to fully deliver for workers, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions General Secretary Patricia King has said.  

The proposed measures are contained in the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017, which is currently at Committee Stage in the Dail, the point in the legislative process when amendments and changes can be adopted and made. The Bill is before the Committee on Employment Affairs & Social Protection today (May 16).   

Addressing the proposed legislation Patricia King said it was crucial that the concerns of workers and trade unions were taken on board, to ensure the measures would be fit for purpose.  "This is a critical piece of legislation that presents a real opportunity to deliver improved employment rights for some of the most vulnerable and exploited workers in Ireland,” she said. 

“However, it requires significant changes if it is to fully deliver for workers."   Congress has called for amendments to the proposed legislation to include:

  • Total abolition of Zero Hour and ‘If and When’ contracts;
  • Establish a minimum three hour payment for workers, at their normal rate of pay even if no work is provided, as recommended by the University of Limerick study (2015);
  • The proposed ‘bands of hours’ in the Bill must be narrowed;
  • Introduce a ‘look back’ reference period of no more than 13 months;
  • Proper compensation provision of up to 104 weeks/ two years payment, with appropriate employer penalisation clauses.

Over recent months Congress has conducted an intensive lobbying campaign with a wide range of parties and TDs and has attracted widespread support for significant changes to the proposed legislation. 

Read a Congress Briefing on the changes required

A Congress study on precarious work is available here