Workplace Relations Act 2015 – New Adjudication System and Changes to the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997

May 2015

On 20 May 2015 the Workplace Relations Act 2015 was signed into law by the President marking a complete overhaul of the adjudication process for all workplace complaints. It is anticipated that the Act will be commenced with effect from 1 July 2015 and the various functions of the Labour Relations Commission, Employment Appeals Tribunal, the National Employment Rights Authority, the Labour Court and the Equality Tribunal will be consolidated and exercised in the first instance by Workplace Relations Commission in the form of an Adjudicator and by the Labour Court on Appeal. These changes are aimed at speeding up the process of workplace complaints and avoiding the need for employers to defend claims relating to the same dispute in a number of different fora.

Section 86 of the Workplace Relations Act will also amend sections 19, 20 and 23 of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. These amendments will bring the Organisation of Working Time Act into line with recent rulings of the Court of Justice of the EU. These provisions now provide that, for the purpose of the Act, when an employee is absent from work due to illness it shall be deemed to be a day on which the employee was at his/her place of work or at his/her employers disposal, thus enabling an employee to accrue annual leave whilst on sick leave. Further, the Act provides that, if an employee ceases to be employed, they are entitled to be paid compensation in respect of annual leave accrued during the relevant period, but untaken.

For more information, contact your usual Whitney Moore contact or Emma Richmond in our Employment Group.