During the Second Stage debate on the Bill, some Deputies expressed the view that the bands are too wide in the Banded Hours provision. I indicated that I would consider this matter in the context of possible Committee Stage amendments once the bands allow a reasonable degree of flexibility.
In relation to the width of the bands, it was clear from the public consultation and from the ICTU/Ibec dialogue process that the bands selected should be sufficiently broad so as to allow a reasonable degree of flexibility in managing the banded hours arrangements. This can benefit both employers and employees. A greater number of bands but with more narrow ranges of hours could be more difficult to operate.
The purpose of the banded hours provision is to ensure that an employee’s contract reflects the actual hours worked consistently by the employee over an extended period. This will help to address problems of uncertainty of hours/predictability of income, which can cause difficulties for people seeking mortgages/credit etc.
I recognise that some companies that have bargained collectively on banded hours arrangements may already have a higher number of bands with a narrower range of hours in each band, which works for those particular companies in those particular sectors of employment. I certainly do not want to interfere with these arrangements because they work very well for those employers. However, we have to recognise that the proposed legislation will apply to all employments in all sectors and not just sectors where to date banded hours are a normal part of their working environment. It is very important, therefore, that the bands achieve the outcome desired and still provide employers with a reasonable level of flexibility.