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This means that no matter how much it annoys you, if you have an exempt employee who takes off two hours early to do anything--doctor's appointment, soccer tournament, just plain bored and wanted to go home--you cannot dock her pay. It's helpful to think of this in terms of a "touch the wall" rule. That is, if your employee shows up for work, even if it's just for 15 minutes, you must pay for the entire day.

In the case of remote workers, if they so much as log onto their computers, call on one customer, or do any anything work related, that counts as touching the wall. You can discipline, fire, demote, yell at, or dock vacation time.

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But, you may not dock pay. And if you do dock pay? You've just made that person non-exempt.

Which means you not only owe overtime going forward, you owe it going backward. Now, not only do I see pay docking violations all the time, I see violations where people are labeled exempt when they really should be non-exempt. And it's not necessarily easy to tell where people should be. If it's not abundantly clear to you, categorize someone as non-exempt and pay by the hour. What makes this extra complicated is that the FLSA hasn't been adequately updated to reflect today's knowledge workforce. Here are some general guidelines for determining exempt status.

Consult the FLSA website for specific questions. In order to be considered an exempt employee, employees have to meet several qualifications. An undergraduate applicant's ability to pay tuition is not a criterion for admission. Each year more than half of Georgetown undergraduates receive some form of financial assistance. Georgetown is home to a vibrant community of accomplished students, distinguished faculty members and committed professional staff. Together, we use different methods of innovative teaching to realize our passion for learning across disciplines, campuses and continents.

Academics at Georgetown is heavily influenced by our Jesuit tradition of educating the whole person. Georgetown's nine schools offer undergraduate and graduate degrees , including the liberal arts, sciences, international relations, law, medicine, business administration and public policy degrees, and a growing number of specialized certificates and continuing education programs.

Cheer on the Hoya sports teams. An increase in the National Minimum Wage came into effect on July 1, , the first of two increases to the national minimum wage agreed by the social partners and accepted by the Government as part of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness PPF. Wages are fixed through a series of nationally-negotiated pay agreements based upon a social partnership model. The financial position of employees who lose their jobs as a result of employer insolvency is protected under the Protection of Employees Employers' Insolvency Act Insolvency ' is defined as occurring where the employer is an individual, where he or she has been adjudicated bankrupt, or has filed a petition for or has executed a deed of arrangement with their creditors, or if they have died and the estate is insolvent.

Where the employer is a company, insolvent is defined as occurring where the company is in liquidation or receivership, that is where it has either been wound up or where a receiver has been appointed to supervise the payment of creditors. An employer may also be deemed to be insolvent where they have ceased trading, even where no formal bankruptcy or winding- up proceedings have been initiated. Employees' rights are protected in the event of insolvency in that any money owing to them by the employer in terms of remuneration, holiday pay, sick pay, monies in lieu of notice, or money owing under any recommendation or order made against the employer in respect of unfair dismissal, maternity or parental leave claims.

Pension payments are also covered subject to a ceiling and time limits.

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The employee may be designated as a preferred creditor although debts owed to them rank behind the expenses of the liquidator or receiver, and any taxes owing to the Revenue Commissioners. In any event, the employee may apply to the Minister on the prescribed form and the Minister shall pay the debts owed, once the Minister is satisfied that the employee falls within the definition of theAct and the employer has become insolvent after 22 October ; and that on the 'relevant date' the employee was entitled to be paid the whole or part of any debt. The pattern favoured in the law throughout much of the last century was apparent from the two major pieces of legislation regulating trade union structures and organisation passed in Irish law prior to the last decade: the Trade Union Act and the Industrial Relations Act The Act, as subsequently amended, was concerned primarily with the problem of multiplicity of unions, seeking to tackle it by discouraging the formation of new trade unions and encouraging the merger of existing ones.

The Act was concerned more generally with industrial relations, enshrining the principle of free collective bargaining, ensuring that the State's role in the collective bargaining process remained an auxiliary one. Since the commencement of the national centralised 'social partnership' process, the State's role in collective bargaining has clearly increased significantly. But in terms of trade union pattern, the policy remains one of discouraging a multiplicity of unions. In trade union density the percentage of those in employment who were union members stood at By this figure had shrunk to an estimated Today the comparable figure is either This downward trend in trade union membership is not unique to Ireland.

In looking at these figures, it should also be remembered that in many European countries many more employees than are union members are covered by collectively negotiated agreements because of the sectoral or national application of such agreements, often by law. From an Irish trade union perspective, what is worrying about the membership figures is that union density is decreasing during a period of strong employment growth. In the past, union membership and density has tended to increase during robust periods of economic growth.

Unions have not actual lost members; membership simply has not grown at the same rate as employment growth. There are a number of reasons to explain the drop in density.

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In part it derives from the decline of traditional, mass-manufacturing companies, with predominantly male workforces, which were the heartlands of the trade unions. It has been suggested by some commentators that the density drop results almost exclusively from the failure of the trade unions to build membership in the new growth sectors, such as computers, informational technology, telecommunications and financial services, especially in overseas companies investing in this country.

The Irish Constitution in Article Fitzpatrick [] IR , for example, to include the right of any citizen not to join associations or unions if they so wish. The case of Meskell v CIE [] IR held that to try to alter the constitutional rights of an employee retrospectively by enforcing a closed shop agreement on current employees was unconstitutional. This decision did not affect the rights of workers who join an employment which already has a pre-entry closed shop agreement, as the employee will know in advance that trade union membership of a particular union is an employment requirement.

Such a condition of employment is not regarded as unconstitutional as neither compulsion nor coercion on the employee is involved - though it has to be said that these contentions have not been fully tested in the Courts. The Payment of Wages Act allows deduction from wages of union dues or other payments, provided there is an agreement to do so in the Contract of Employment and the employee has been notified of the deduction. This is a usual practice in Ireland.

That Act provides for certain immunities from liability for trade unions involved in trade disputes, but these apply only in relation to 'authorised trade unions which for the time being are holders of negotiation licences under the Trade Union Act, The restrictions vary in accordance with the category of union to which the applicant union belongs. The legal situation with regard to trade union recognition is that an employer does not have to recognise or bargain with a union. There is no duty placed on an employer to negotiate with any particular citizen or body of citizens.

The same point had been made in even stronger language by Mr. Nevertheless, the Courts have held that disputes over recognition are valid trade disputes. In an attempt to meet trade union concerns over the ability of employers to avoid union recognition the government recently enacted legislation, the Industrial Relations Amendment Act came into force on May 31, It is based on an agreed report from the social partners and relevant state agencies concerned with industrial relations issues. The new legislation gives the Labour Court the power to issue a legally binding ruling on pay and conditions of employment in circumstances in which an employer refuses to recognise a trade union.

However, the Court cannot rule that an employer must recognise a trade union. Further, the procedure set out in the Act is long and cumbersome, possibly taking up to two years to complete, and has not yet been tested in practice. Trade union membership and recognition is an important issue in Ireland, particularly because Irish legislation contains no erga omnes provisions whereby collective bargaining agreements are applied across sectors on a binding basis. Therefore, in Ireland, collective bargaining coverage is synonymous with union membership.

Further, because of the fact that the Irish Labour Inspectorate which is seriously understaffed operates on a reactive basis — i. The concept of unfair labour practice s does not exist as such. However, through the employment legislation detailed above employers are obliged to act fairly towards their employees in a range of different ways.

The Labour Relations Commission has published a range of Codes setting out best practice in different areas, for example on disciplinary and grievance procedures. The Trade Union Act identifies the primary function of a trade union as the carrying on of negotiations for the fixing of wages and other conditions of employment - the carrying on of such negotiations with employers is known as collective bargaining.

Since the foundation of the State, with the exception of the limited period and certain temporary legislation with respect to the banks in , and , trade unions and employers have been free to bargain over wages and other conditions of employment without the intervention of the law. Although collective bargaining has been based traditionally on the British voluntarist model and has not been subject to legal regulation see above , a major feature of Irish industrial relations is the system of centralised wage bargaining which first began in with the first of a series of wage rounds.

These Agreements or Programmes are negotiated at a national level, but local agreements may still be reached, and this is generally done informally. At present, local collective agreements are not binding due to the policy of voluntarism or exclusion of the courts, which is central to collective bargaining and industrial relations practice in Ireland. Whereas it is possible for collective agreements to be registered with the Labour Court, they seldom are in practice.

If it is desired, then the parties to a Collective Agreement may apply to the Labour Court to register the Agreement. Once the Agreement is registered and any subsequent amendments notified, the Agreement is legally enforceable. These are informal, and are not regulated by law. However, the Organisation of Working Time Act gives a more formalised role for collective agreements, allowing flexibility to be reached in the application of the Act through the negotiation of collective agreements. For example, the normal reference period over which the maximum hour working week is calculated is 6 months, but this can instead be calculated over 12 months, where an employer concludes a collective agreement with the workforce, which is approved and registered by the Labour Court under section 24 of the Act.

Collective agreements also allow greater flexibility in the scheduling of daily and weekly rest breaks, and the management of night work. The Act thus gives greater importance to collective agreements, but technically speaking, collective agreements do not provide a way around the Act. Instead, they may provide for more flexibility within the operation of the Act. Section 2 1 defines collective agreement.

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Thus, they do not have to be union-employer agreements. They may be concluded between an employer and an internal staff association. The terms of an agreement may, however, be binding on the workers and employers included within the agreement's scope but only to the extent that they are deemed to have been 'incorporated' into the employees' individual contracts of employment.

Where an agreement is concluded in a workplace, it will usually be applied to all employees in the organisation whether they are union members or not. The legality of this informal arrangement has, however, not been tested in the courts. Representation of workers is either organised through trade unions, or organised on an informal basis, or not organised at all.

Until EU legislation comes into effect, there is no obligation on the employer to have a mechanism for the representation of workers in Irish law. The Industrial Relations Act is now the governing statute in this area, and has been in force since July Prior to the Act, the right to strike and the law pursuant to Trade disputes was enshrined in the Trade Disputes Act This Act granted certain legal immunities to persons engaged in a lawful trade dispute.

These immunities are, to a large extent, preserved in the Act - the changes are designed to place observance of certain procedures as a precondition before the legal immunities will apply.

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The Act defines "industrial action" as "any action which affects, or is likely to affect, the terms or conditions, whether express or implied, of a contract and which is taken by any number or body of workers acting in combination or under a common understanding as a means of compelling their employer, or to aid other workersin compelling their employer, to accept or not to accept terms or conditions of or affecting employment". Section10 of the Act confers immunity from prosecution or civil action for conspiracy where workers are taking industrial action in "contemplation of furtherance" of a trade dispute.

Section11 deals with immunity in relation to picketing including secondary picketing and provides that it shall be lawful to engage in peaceful picketing at that employees place of work if the picketing is in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute and designed to peacefully obtain or communicate information or to peacefully persuade persons from abstaining from working. With regard to secondary picketing picketing at place of work of an employer who is not a party to the dispute this is lawful only if those picketing have reasonable grounds to believe that the employer whose place of work is being picketed has or is directly assisting their own employer with a view to frustrating the strike or industrial action.

Section12 provides immunity to persons acting in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute in relation to actions for breach of contract of employment, inducement to others to breach their contact or a threat to breach the contract of employment a threatened strike. Section13 provides immunity for actions in Tort civil wrong against Trade Unions, members of and Trade Union Officials provided their actions were taken in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute or with reasonable belief that they were in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute.

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Anyone may convene a strike, but the protection against liability only applies to trade unions which convene a strike under certain procedural requirements imposed upon unions by the Act, with regard to taking lawful strike action. Sections 14 and 19 of the Act require trade unions to ballot members in a secret ballot before organising or sanctioning industrial action in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute.

If such ballot favours industrial action the union must give the employer one week notice of the intention to take industrial action. If the union complies with this requirement the employer is precluded from seeking an ex pate interim injunction. The employer may still apply for an interlocutory injunction but section 19 2 provides that the Court will not grant the injunction where the Union establishes a fair case that they were acting in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute.

These protections are not available if the trade union fails to comply with the secret ballot and notice requirements and the detailed requirements in section 4 2 , as follows:. Section 9 of the Industrial Relations Act would appear to deprive employees of the immunity against suit and protection against an injunction in relation to picketing where certain conditions apply. The employer however is also obliged to adhere to procedures - section9 3 provides that where the employer refuses to comply with procedures, the employee will be deemed to have exhausted such procedures.

With regard to trade disputes which are not individual worker disputes, the Act is silent as to whether the union or the employees must exhaust procedures set down in a Collective Agreement before strike action is taken. Although the general criminal liability for breach of the contract of employment such as through strike action was abolished by the Employers and Workmen Act , sections 4 and 5 of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act provide that breaches of the contract of employment will be illegal in two situations.

First, where the breach is by persons employed in certain public utilities, and secondly, where the breach is likely to involve serious injury to any person or property. Section 4 imposes criminal liability on persons employed by municipal authority or any gas or water supplier who breaks their contract. This provision was extended to electricity workers by section of the Electricity Supply Act Section 5 is broader and could potentially apply to other categories of essential service workers, such as hospital workers, fire brigade staff or security staff. It provides that breaching of contract is a criminal offence where the probable consequences are to 'endanger human life, or cause serious bodily injury, or to expose valuable property whether real or personal to destruction or serious injury.

Where a strike is deemed to be illegal, the employer may obtain an injunction against the union. An injunction is a court order which requires a person to do or to refrain from doing certain acts. It is a temporary order designed to preserve the status quo until the action case comes to trial. Trade disputes have been a fertile ground for employers to seek injunctions to restrain picketing. An employer successfully restraining picketing will often gain advantage in bargaining power and the result of the injunction will often lead to the end of the dispute.

In relation to trade disputes, two types of injunction have been sought 1 "the interim injunction" or "ex parte injunction" sought as a matter of urgency and without notice to the other party. It is a very temporary order and a further application for an interlocutory injunction must be made within days. Secondly, there is the interlocutory injunction, the procedure for which is as follows: Both sides are notified and the order, if granted, will be for a longer period but still temporary in nature. The injunction is granted on the following basis:. Lockouts are not included in the definition of "strike" or "industrial action" under the Industrial Relations Act , so are not regulated at the collective level.


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Rather, they are regulated at the individual employee level, under the Unfair Dismissals Acts If at the end of a lockout, an employee is not reinstated or re-engaged, and one or more others who were also locked out were reinstated or re-engaged, it would then be considered an unfair dismissal. The Act amended the Act to provide that the dismissal of an employee for taking part in a strike or industrial action is an unfair dismissal if at least one other employee was not dismissed for the same action, or if another employee was reinstated or re-engaged.

The date of reinstatement or re-engagement is the date as agreed between the employer and employees, or if there is no agreement, the date on which reinstatement or re-engagement was offered to the majority of the workforce. If a particular employee is dismissed for taking part in a strike and other employees are not so dismissed, it would be an automatically unfair dismissal. However, if during the course of the strike or other industrial action, there was abusive behaviour by an employee, he or she could be deemed to be fairly dismissed for that reason.

Labour law matters are generally not dealt with through the ordinary courts structures, but rather through a specialist structure of labour institutions: the Labour Relations Commission, Rights Commissioners, the Director of Equality Investigations, the Labour Court and the Employment Appeals Tribunal. Although labour law is often divided between collective and individual branches, this division is not reflected in the functions reserved to each of the labour institutions.

The Labour Court, for example, was set up as a collective and voluntarist institution with a primary role in resolving trade disputes; but it has more recently been assigned jurisdiction over equality law matters and hears appeals from the Director of Equality Investigations under the Employment Equality Act Claims involving breaches of other employment protection legislation such as the Unfair Dismissals Acts , the Organisation of Working Time Act or the Payment of Wages Act are all taken first to the Rights Commissioner and then to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

Its main functions were to adjudicate in trade disputes and to provide a conciliation service. Other functions given to the Court included the establishment of Joint Labour Committees and the registration of employment agreements and Joint Industrial Councils.

An equality service was added in to deal with equal pay - and later, equal treatment - cases. In , this service, and the conciliation service of the Labour Court were transferred to the Labour Relations Commission. The Labour Court is an independent body consisting of representatives of employers and workers participating on an equal basis.

It is not a court of law. It operates as an industrial relations tribunal, hearing both sides in trade disputes and then issuing Recommendations setting out its opinion on the dispute and the terms on which it should be settled. Ultimately,however, responsibility for the settlement of a dispute rests with the parties. When dealing with cases involving breaches of registered employment agreements,the Labour Court makes legally binding orders. More information on the Labour Court may be picked from its online brochure, in the following web address:.

The chairman shall be appointed by the Minister after consultation with such organisations as the Minister considers to be representative of workers and of employers. The Commission has general responsibility for promoting the improvement of industrial relations. More specifically it :. Conciliation is a voluntary process. The process of conciliation begins when one or both disputing parties writes to the Labour Relations Commission requesting assistance with their industrial relations dispute. According to LRCs data, conciliation is succesful in over 80 per cent of cases that are referred to it for conciliation.

Where such an objection is made, the Rights Commissioner cannot investigate the case. The applicant can instead request the Labour Court or, depending on the legislation, the Employment Appeals Tribunal to hear the case. After hearing the parties, rights commissioner issue the findings of their investigations in the form of either non-binding recommendations or decisions, depending on the legislation under which a case is referred.

These can be appealed, provided the appeal is lodged within the time limits set down in the legislation. Having heard the appeal, the Court, or Tribunal, will issue a decision, which is binding on the parties to the dispute. The Employment Appeals Tribunal is responsible for implementing rights under protective employment law. It hears a wide range of disputes concerning employment rights.

It consists of three people: a Chairperson who has legal qualifications and one representative each from panels formed by the trade unions and employer organisations. The decision of the Tribunal is generally called a "determination" and is legally binding. Finally, it should be reminded that legal issues involving Eurpean Community Law may be referred by national courts to the European Court of Justice, for a preliminary ruling under art.

Ireland is member of the ILO since Constitution After more than three centuries of British rule, the Irish Free State was founded in The national languages are Irish and English. Labour Regulation Irish labour law has developed according to a British-style voluntarist model. Contract of Employment Employment law is based on an assumption that an employer and employee, or 'master' and 'servant' in the old language, enter into a contractual relationship freely and voluntarily, on equal terms, and that this sets out the terms and conditions of employment.

Unlimited and fixed-term contracts of employment Most contracts of employment are unlimited i. Special contracts of employment There are no special contracts of employment, although in the past, another type of employment relationship was deemed to exist where a person was working for the State in the civil service, for example.

Probation Most contracts of employment specify a probation period of twelve months. A constructive dismissal - that is the termination of the contract of employment by the employee with or without notice, in circumstances where, because of the conduct of the employer, the employee was entitled, or it was reasonable for the employee to terminate the contract without notice. We are dealing here with resignations by the employee which are brought about by the unreasonable conduct of the employer some examples would include sexual harassment, unfounded or unsubstantiated accusations of pilferage, physical threats or violence toward employee, extreme isolation of employee.

The expiration of a fixed term or specific purpose contract see above. The employer may be able to justify dismissal on the following grounds: Capability, competence or qualifications of the employee e.