The EU and the Irish Government recently passed the European Union (Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions) Regulations 2022, effective from 16th December 2022.
What are the EU Working Conditions Regulations?
The European Union (Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions) Regulations 2022 is a set of regulations introduced by the European Union (EU) that aim to improve the working conditions for employees in the EU.
The regulations are designed to ensure that workers have clear and predictable information about their employment conditions, including the terms and conditions of their contracts, working hours, remuneration, and other important aspects of their employment.
The regulations also aim to promote transparency and fairness in the workplace, by ensuring that workers have access to relevant information and are not subject to discrimination or exploitation.
Additionally, the regulations provide for a framework for the resolution of disputes between employees and employers.
The regulations apply to all forms of employment, including full-time, part-time, fixed-term, and temporary contracts, as well as self-employed individuals who are deemed to be dependent on their clients for their livelihood.
The goal of the regulations is to provide a more level playing field for workers and employers, and to promote decent and stable working conditions for all employees in the EU.
Legislative Changes Arising from the 2022 Regulations
To transpose directive 2019/1152, amendments have been made to the following pieces of legislation:
- Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994
- Organisation of Working Time Act 1997
- Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003
- Workplace Relations Act 2015
Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994:
The 5 Day Statement must now also include the following information:
- The place of work or, where there is no fixed or main place of work, a statement specifying that the employee is employed at various places as determined by the employer or employee.
- The title, grade, nature or category of work for which the employee is employed OR a brief description of the work;
- The date of commencement of the contract of employment;
- Any terms and conditions relating to hours of work (including overtime).
The full Contract of Employment to be given to the employee within 30 days of starting must now also include the following.
- The training, if any, to be provided by the employer;
- In the case of an agency temporary contract of employment, the identity of the person or firm hiring the agency worker must be identified.
- If the work pattern of the employee is entirely or mostly unpredictable, the number of guaranteed paid hours and the remuneration for work performed in addition to those guaranteed hours must be referenced. The hours and days within which the employee may be required to work and the minimum notice period the employee is entitled to before the start of a work assignment (at least 24 hrs where possible);
- The identity of the social security institutions receiving the social insurance contributions attached to the contract of employment and any protection relating to social security provided by the employer.
- Probation periods are now not permitted to be longer than 6 months and can only be extended in limited circumstances such as absence of the employee due to certified leave.
- The employer may not prohibit an employee from taking up employment with another employer outside of their scheduled work times unless there is a valid reason. These reasons include but are not limited to health and safety reasons, possible conflicts of interest, and protection of business confidentiality.
- Where an employer is required by law or collective agreement to provide training to an employee to carry out the work for which they are employed:
- Such training shall be provided to the employee free of cost
- Shall count as working time.
- Where possible this training should take place during working hours.
Transition to Another Form of Employment
- An employee, who has completed their probationary period and has been in continuous service with an employer for at least six months, may request a form of employment with more predictable and secure working conditions, where available, and receive a reasoned reply from their employer. An employee can make such a request once in any twelve-month period. An employer shall provide a reasoned written reply to the request within one month of the request.
Organisation of Working Time Act 1997
- As well as the minimum notice period specified in the OWTA, a work assignment now must take place within the days and hours that the employee may be asked to attend for work.
- Where the notice of a work assignment provided to an employee is not within the minimum notice period of 24 hours or the work assignment is to take place outside the reference hours and days, the employee has the possibility to refuse the work assignment without adverse consequences.
Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003
- Where a fixed-term employee has entered into a fixed-term contract with an employer which includes a probationary period, the length of such probationary period shall be proportionate to the expected duration of the contract and the nature of the work. Where a fixed-term contract is renewed for the same functions, the contract shall not be subject to a new probationary period.
For further detailed explanations on the amendments that have been made, check out the Workplace Relations website.