Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (333)

Peadar Tóibín


333. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation when he will publish the draft scheme and the regulatory impact assessment of the workplace relations Bill. [22266/14]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

I presume the Deputy is referring to the Workplace Relations Bill. As the Deputy may be aware, the ongoing programme which I have initiated to reform the State’s employment rights and industrial relations structures is at an advanced stage. This reform programme will result in the establishment of a new two-tier Workplace Relations structure comprising two statutorily independent bodies replacing the current five. We will have a new single body of first instance to be called the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and a separate appeals body, which will effectively be an expanded Labour Court.

A significant amount of work has been completed on the preparation of the legislation which will give statutory effect to the new structures and associated processes. In July 2012, I published a policy document – Legislating for a World Class Workplace Relations Service - which was submitted to the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in order to give the Committee an early opportunity to shape the legislation. I had a constructive dialogue with the Committee on the basis of this document.

The Draft Scheme of the Workplace Relations Bill has been approved by Government for priority drafting. The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel has assigned resources to ensure the earliest possible publication of the Bill and drafting is at an advanced stage. My intention is to publish the Bill during the Spring/Summer Dail session 2014 with a view to having the new structures in place during 2014.

The legislation will provide for the services of the Equality Tribunal, the National Employment Rights Authority, the Labour Relations Commission and the first instance functions of the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) to come together under the remit of the Workplace Relations Commission. The appellate functions of the EAT will be amalgamated into a reconfigured Labour Court.

A Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) in relation to the Workplace Relations Bill was prepared by my Department in July 2012 and was included in the Memorandum for Government submitted to Cabinet on 24 July 2012 seeking approval for priority drafting of the Bill. It has been brought to my attention that due to an oversight this RIA was not on my Departments website in the intervening period. However, this matter has now been rectified and the RIA has been published on my Department’s website (www.djei.ie) and is available to be downloaded at the following link: http://www.djei.ie/publications/ria/2012RIAWorkplaceRelationsBill.pdf.