During the Second Stage debate on the Bill, many Deputies expressed the view in relation to the banded hours provision, that the 18 month look back reference period is too long. I indicated that I would consider these matters in the context of possible Committee Stage amendments.
There are a few issues that need to be considered. There will be an administrative burden on employers in implementing the banded hours provision so therefore it is desirable that an ‘easy’ divisor is used. The 18 month period was chosen as it would take account of seasonal fluctuations as well as the normal peaks and troughs of business. It also reflects that the academic year does not match the calendar year.
It is important that the look-back period and the length of time an employee is statutorily entitled to stay in a band of hours remain the same . Any reduction in the look back period would reduce the period of security provided to employees. It is also important that we use an easy divisor; therefore, 13 months as a reference period might not be desirable from that point of view. I am however, open to discussing a reference period closer to a year and in this respect I note that the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in their report on the Banded Hour Contracts Bill 2016 recommended a reference period of 12 months.