Sunday pay rates to be altered

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton at a press
conference in Government Buildings this afternoon to announce reforms
to wage-setting systems.

MARTIN WALL Industry Correspondent, EOIN BURKE-KENNEDY

Lower pay rates are likely to be introduced for tens of thousands of
workers in sectors covered by the joint labour committee system for
setting wages in future under Government plans announced this
afternoon.

At the same time workers in such sectors will lose their existing
legal entitlement to special Sunday premium rates. Instead Sunday
working will be covered by existing legislation that allows employers
to recognise work carried out on Sunday either by a special payment,
an increased hourly rates across the entitle week or time off in lieu.

As part of the Government’s plans, the number of joint labour
committees is to be reduced by more than half, from 13 to six.

Companies will also be allowed to derogate from the terms of
employment regulation orders – set following the deliberations of the
joint labour committees – in cases of financial difficulty.

Agreements are to be revised using new criteria such as unemployment
rates, competitiveness and wage trends in the country’s major trading
partners abroad.

This is expected to result in a reduction in the rates of pay for
future staff employed in such sectors.

Minister for Enterprise and Jobs Richard Bruton said that existing
staff would be covered by their current contractual arrangements with
employers.

He also said that there will be “will be expectation that hiring costs
will come down as a result of this, and there will be an opportunity
to take on new people”.

Record-keeping requirement for employers is also be reduced under the
measures, announced by the Minister this afternoon.

“The measures will radically overhaul the system so as to make it
fairer, more competitive and more flexible so as to increase
job-creation in these sectors,” Mr Bruton said. “They will also
reinstate a robust system of protection for workers in these sectors
in the aftermath of the recent High Court ruling.”

The ruling earlier this month found the JLC system unconstitutional.

Mr Bruton said the ruling, which undermined the position of workers in
these sectors, had “created an additional urgency” to change the
system.