Sunday pay rates to be altered

 

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.