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EMPLOYMENT LAW COMPLIANCE ACT 2008
The Employment Compliance Act 2008 (“the Act”) has a number of functions and has far-reaching consequences for rogue employers.
Amongst other things, the Act:-
- Establishes the National Employment Rights Authority (“NERA”) on a statutory basis;
- Provides Labour Inspectorate with greater powers, to include, allowing the Director of NERA to take evidence on oath, ensuring labour inspectors have increased access to employers’ premises and to documents held therein such as personnel records and employment permits;
- Allows NERA to prosecute summary offences under the Act;
- Empowers NERA Labour Inspectors to prosecute offences and to conduct investigations with other agencies including Revenue Commissioners, Social Welfare inspectors and An Garda Síochána;
- Provides increased penalties for breaches of employment law of up to €5,000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment for summary offences and €250,000 and/or 3 years’ imprisonment for indictable offences;
- Makes it an offence for employers to falsify, conceal or destroy any relevant employment records so as to obstruct an investigation by NERA.
- Protects “whistleblowers” in the event of breaches of employment law being reported in good faith;
- Allows NERA to impose on the spot fines and can seek High Court Orders to enforce compliance.
- Obliges employers to retain employment records for a minimum of three years, and for a period of two years after an employee leaves.
- Obliges employers to furnish an employee with a reference detailing the duration of anemployee’s employment and a brief description of the employee’s duties during such employment. It further obliges employers to return any items of personal information on the employer’s premises within 14 days of an employee leaving employment.
- Requires employers to display clearly-worded notices in a prominent position in the workplace advising employees of their rights under employment legislation, how to seek redress and how to contact the NERA for information. This notice must be in a language which the employees can understand.