Protection for 'zero hours' workers

The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018, came into effect on 4th March 2019.

Workers who are contracted to be available for work but may not be actually given work have been afforded some protection.

The provisions are complex but essentially a worker must be paid for 25% of the time they are expected to be available, whether or not they are actually required to work.

The rate at which those hours are to be paid is not entirely clear but it will amount to at least €9.80 per hour and cannot be less than 15 hours per week.

Furthermore, there is an obligation on employers to furnish the employee with a written statement of the hours they will normally be expected to work.

Employers may attempt to circumvent this legislation by categorising operatives as ‘self-employed’. However, labelling someone as self-employed does not change the character of the relationship and this is something which is likely to be tested closely as the ‘gig economy’ comes under scrutiny.

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McGrath McGrane Solicitors

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