Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (338)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl


338. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will address the concerns expressed in correspondence (details supplied) regarding sick leave and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22586/14]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

As the Deputy will appreciate, I cannot provide legal advice in relation to the employment rights applying to any employee’s specific circumstances. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any concerns an employee may have about their situation. The employee concerned will then be in a position to assess the range of remedies that may be available either under the common law, statute law or otherwise through negotiation or mediation, for example. General information (but not legal advice) on employment rights is available from the Workplace Relations Customer Service (website www.workplacerelations.ie).

In relation to legislation administered by my Department, the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 provides that information on provisions regarding any terms or conditions relating to an employee’s incapacity for work due to sickness or injury and paid sick leave should be included in a written statement of an employee’s terms and conditions of employment.

The Industrial Relations Act 1990 Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures (Declaration) Order 2000 provides guidance to employers, employees and their representatives on the general principles which apply in the operation of grievance and disciplinary procedures. Any procedures for dealing with such issues must comply with the general principles of natural justice and fair procedures. A useful guide to the Code is available at the following link:

http://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/Good_Workplace_Relations/Grievance_and_Disciplinary_Procedures/ .

The Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007 lay down criteria by which the fairness or otherwise of dismissals are adjudicated upon. While the Acts provide for some potentially fair reasons for dismissal, the onus is generally on the employer to show that there were substantial grounds justifying the dismissal. Each case is adjudicated upon on its merits and the facts of the case.

The Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2011 may also be of particular interest to the employee concerned. The Acts, which are administered by my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, deal with discrimination (including discriminatory dismissal) related to nine grounds. Complaints of discrimination in employment under the Employment Equality Acts are dealt with by the Equality Tribunal.

The Equality Authority (which is a separate body to the Equality Tribunal) has a general remit to promote equality under Employment Equality law, and it may be in a position to provide the employee in question with more specific information on their situation (website www.equality.ie) or Phone 1890 245 545.

She may also wish to contact the Workplace Relations Customer Service on 1890 80 8090.