Fraud Blocker Legislative changes for 2024 in Ireland - Parakar

What are the legislative changes for 2024 in Ireland?

At the start of every year, there will be changes to laws and regulations. As your local knowledge partner, we love to share with you a list of the most significant changes to the Irish employment law, so that you don’t have to.

Domestic Violence leave

There’s a new type of leave called Domestic Violence Leave. It provides five (5) days of paid leave for an employee who is currently experiencing or has experienced domestic violence within any 12 consecutive months, at their regular pay rate. Employees can take advantage of this leave without any minimum service requirement, and they are not required to provide evidence for their leave application. However, employers can ask for enough information from the employee to determine if they qualify for domestic violence leave.

The purpose of this leave is to allow the employee (or a person defined as ‘relevant’ by the law) to seek medical help, access support services and counselling, temporarily or permanently relocate, get legal advice or assistance, seek help from the police, or obtain a safety or barring order from the courts.

Other leave entitlements

The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023 introduced other additional leave entitlements:

  • Employees are entitled to up to five days unpaid leave for medical care purposes.
  • Transgender men (who have given birth) can now access maternity and pregnancy related leave and entitlements.
  • The number of weeks during which mothers are entitled to take paid time off work for breastfeeding purposes has been increased from 26 to 104.

Gender pay gap reporting

The Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 became effective on May 31, 2022. In June 2022, companies with 250 or more employees had to select a specific date within that month to generate a report on the gender pay gap (GPG) among their employees on that date. They were required to publish this report in December 2022 and December 2023. Initially, GPG reporting applied to organizations with 250 or more employees in 2022 and 2023. However, it is set to expand to organizations with 150 or more employees in 2024 and those with 50 or more employees from 2025 onwards.

Reporting Requirements:

  • Mean and median wage gap for full-time, part-time, and temporary employees.
  • Mean and median bonus gap for full-time, part-time, and temporary employees.
  • Proportion of men and women receiving bonuses.
  • Proportion of men and women receiving benefits in kind.
  • Proportion of men and women in four quartiles.
  • Specific regulations and guidance dictate how these calculations should be carried out.

Employer Responsibilities:

  • Employers must publish a statement explaining, in their opinion, the reasons for the gender pay gap and proposed measures to reduce or eliminate it.
  • An employee can file a claim with the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) for non-compliance.
  • The WRC can issue an order directing the employer to take specific actions to comply with GPG legislation.
  • No provisions exist for compensation or fines for non-compliance.
  • All WRC decisions are published with the involved parties named.

Updates on Statutory Sick Pay (SPP)

The Sick Leave Act 2022 was phased in starting January 2023. Initially, employees were entitled to three days of leave, which increased to five days on January 1, 2024. The plan is to further increase it to seven days in 2025 and ten days in 2026.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is set at 70% of an employee’s wage, but it is subject to a daily threshold of €110. This maximum cap might change over time to reflect income and inflation changes. SSP applies to all employees with continuous service of 13 weeks or more.

Sick leave entitlement begins from the first day of absence and does not have to be consecutive. To access statutory sick leave, employees must provide a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner, covering each day of absence and confirming the employee’s inability to work.

Employers with existing sick leave schemes are exempt from the Act if they can prove that their current benefits are as favorable or more favorable than the statutory entitlement.

Failure to provide statutory sick pay may result in an employee being awarded four weeks’ pay in addition to their statutory sick leave entitlement upon submitting a complaint.

In cases where an employer claims financial constraints, an exemption from the Labour Court is possible, but it requires the employer to demonstrate severe financial difficulties.

In the recent case of Katerina Leszczynska v Musgrave Operating Partners, the WRC examined an employer’s obligation to pay SSP and the circumstances under which a company sick pay scheme is exempt from SSP obligations. The WRC concluded that employers with company sick pay provisions more favorable to employees than statutory sick pay are not affected by the legislation. The WRC took into account the following factors:

  • The period of service of an employee before sick leave is payable
  • The number of days that an employee is absent before sick leave is payable
  • The length of time for which sick leave is payable
  • The amount of sick leave payable
  • The reference period of the sick pay scheme

Parent’s leave and parent’s benefit

In Budget 2024, it was announced that Parent’s Leave and Parent’s Benefit will be extended, allowing for nine weeks of leave starting from August 2024.

Parent’s leave is accessible to employees considered a ‘relevant parent,’ such as a parent or adopting parent of a child, or a spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant of the child’s parent, or a spouse or civil partner of the adopting parent. The child must have been born or adopted on or after November 1, 2019.

Each parent is eligible for Parent’s Leave, and there is no minimum service requirement. The leave, which can be taken as one continuous block or two separate blocks (each lasting at least one week), must be taken within the first two years of the child’s birth or adoption. While companies are not obligated to pay employees on Parent’s Leave, the employee may qualify for State Parent’s Benefit if they have sufficient PRSI contributions.

Pension (auto-enrolment)

On March 29, 2022, the Minister for Social Protection unveiled details about Ireland’s Automatic Enrolment Retirement Savings System, which will operate on an ‘opt-out’ basis rather than ‘opt-in.’ The scheme is anticipated to kick off in the latter half of 2024, with a gradual implementation over a decade.

Auto-enrolment will be introduced step by step, with both employer and employee contributions starting at 1.5%. These contributions will increase every three years by 1.5% until reaching 6% by 2034.

Under this scheme, employers are required to match employee contributions, up to a maximum of €80,000 of earnings. The State will provide a corresponding top-up of €1 for every €3 saved by the employee, up to a maximum of €80,000. In essence, for every €3 saved by an employee, an additional €4 will be credited to their pension savings account through a combination of employer and State contributions.

All employees aged between 23 and 60, earning over €20,000, and not already participating in an occupational pension scheme will be automatically enrolled in this system.

Minimum wage

It was announced that the minimum wage will increase from 1 January 2024. The national minimum wage for people aged 20 and over will increase by €1.40 to €12.70 per hour.

Age group           Minimum wage from 1 January 2024

Age 20 and over                €12.70

Age 19                                €11.43

Age 18                                €10.16

Age under 18                     €8.89

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Explore the intricacies of employing in Ireland alongside our proficient team of HR experts. From unraveling local regulations to providing personalized guidance, our adept specialists in Ireland are eager to lend their expertise and support. Connect with us now to access tailored HR solutions and embark on a journey towards successful employment ventures in Ireland.

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