In advance of bringing legislative proposals to Government to radically reform the State’s five industrial relations and employment rights bodies, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovationtoday published a detailed reform plan he has submitted to the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, for its consideration and discussion next week.
Among the measures in the plan which the Minister will be bringing to the Oireachtas Committee are:
- A single body of first instance, called the Workplace Relations Commission, to adjudicate on all complaints. All hearings will be heard by a single adjudicator, replacing the three-person tribunals currently in existence in some cases.
- A single route for appeal, to an expanded Labour Court (also incorporating the appeals functions of the EAT).
- A single time limit for first instance complaints, and a single time limit for appeals
Three month time-limit from complaint to hearing, replacing the current two-year wait in some cases 28-day target from hearing to decision
- Reasoned, written decisions of all adjudications will be published
- Better enforcement of awards, including provision for a Determination Order enforceable at civil or criminal law
- Rigorous, best practice, performance reporting arrangements between the new body and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
A series of measures will be put in place to reduce the number of cases which end up at formal hearings:
- An Advisory and Information Service in the WRC to provide enhanced information services, better adherence to codes of practice, template workplace dispute procedures and other measures to help encourage resolution of more disputes in the workplace
- An Early Resolution Service, based on best international practice, including interventions and alternative dispute resolution services to encourage resolution of disputes before formal adjudication
- Improved compliance measures, including the use of Compliance Notices and Fixed Charge Notices.