Impact of Employment Law on the Employment Relationship

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The Impact of Employment Law at the START of the employment relationship

Internal Factors which can impact on the employment relationship

Organizational policies and procedures have the ability to influence the employment relationship through the implementation of job sharing or flexible working arrangements. These initiatives enable employees to attain a more favorable work-life balance, affording them additional time for familial responsibilities or educational pursuits. Consequently, employee motivation is heightened and occurrences of work absences resulting from personal obligations diminish.

It is crucial to involve employees in decision-making processes and seek their feedback to improve working conditions.

Gathering their thoughts on the company/organization, as well as any suggestions for improvement, is advantageous. This can be done through surveys or by establishing a Representative Committee where employees can express concerns and share ideas. By implementing their suggestions, staff motivation will greatly increase.

External Factors which can impact on the employment relationship

During economic downturns, the employment relationship can be significantly affected and potentially damaged.

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For instance, in times of recession, many employers experienced financial losses and had to downsize their companies and enforce mandatory layoffs for their employees.

The economic changes in Ireland have resulted in a shift in the talent pool of the labor market. Certain skilled workers and graduates have decided to emigrate, while others have opted to stay and pursue further education for improved skills and job opportunities. The variety of cultural backgrounds among Ireland's residents also offers advantages for employers seeking individuals with language proficiency. Additionally, the increasing retirement age contributes to an older workforce that can retain valuable expertise and knowledge within companies, which is beneficial for employers.

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Different Types of Employment Status

Identifying your employment status is essential as it dictates your rights, responsibilities, and entitlements in the workplace.

The Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 aims to safeguard fixed term workers with "specific purpose" contracts. It prohibits employers from repeatedly extending fixed-term contracts. If an employee has completed a year of continuous service on consecutive fixed-term contracts, they are protected by the Unfair Dismissal legislation. This legislation guarantees fair treatment and prevents the exploitation of fixed term workers by employers.The Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001 guarantees equal employment protection for part-time employees as full-time employees. However, in some situations, part-time employees must work a minimum number of hours within a specific timeframe to be eligible for these rights. This law aims to prevent any unfair treatment of part-time employees compared to their full-time counterparts.

Agency Workers - an agency worker is a person who has an agreement with an agency to work for another person. The legislation on Agency workers was brought into effect in 2012 so it is a brand new act (Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012). Agency workers do not have all the same employment rights as regular workers, but temporary agency workers have the right to equal treatment in basic working and employment conditions. It is interesting to note that The Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 does not apply to agency workers placed by an agency to work for an organization. However, the Act does apply to agency workers employed directly by an employment agency.

Reasons Why It Is Important to Clearly Determine an Individual’s Employment Status:

  1. Determines employees’ rights
  2. It is easier to establish benefits available to the employee
  3. Decides protection for employee

Employee Rights DURING the employment relationship

The importance of work-life balance and the relevant laws regarding holidays, rest periods, working hours, and night shifts should not be underestimated. Achieving work-life balance means recognizing an employee's right to a fulfilling life both inside and outside their job. This benefits both the individual and the organization they belong to. Allowing employees to find a harmonious balance between their personal and professional lives can lead to a motivated and committed workforce. Legislation plays a vital role in facilitating the implementation of work-life balance. For example, the Organization of Working Time Act 1997 states that employees cannot be forced to work more than an average of 48 hours per week. This ensures that all employees have time for personal activities outside of work, ultimately creating a workforce that is loyal and dedicated.

The Maternity Protection Acts of 1994 and 2004 provide legal support for various family-related matters. These include maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, and dependants leave. According to these Acts, female employees have the right to take 26 weeks of Maternity Leave with the option of an additional 16 weeks unpaid if necessary. Furthermore, pregnant employees are entitled to paid time off work for ante-natal care appointments and are guaranteed reemployment in their original position or a comparable one in terms of grade and location. It is worth noting that male employees do not currently have provisions for paternity leave (paid or unpaid) under Irish employment law.

According to employment law, annual leave taken after the birth of a child is treated the same as leave taken at any other time. The employer has the authority to determine who can take annual leave during a specific period. In Ireland, male employees are not legally entitled to unpaid or paid paternity leave; however, they may qualify for parental leave under the Parental Leave Act 1998 and 2006 (amendment). Parental leave allows both qualifying parents to take up to 14 weeks of unpaid absence from work for children up to eight years old. If an employee has multiple children, parental leave is limited to 14 weeks within a 12-month period but can be extended with consent from the employer.

The Adoptive Leave Act of 1995, as amended in 2005, states that adoptive leave is only given to the adoptive mother, unless the sole adopter is male. At present, adoptive leave lasts for 24 weeks. Furthermore, individuals can opt to take an extra 16 weeks of unpaid adoptive leave after this initial period.

The Carer's Leave Act 2001 in Ireland allows employees to take temporary leave from their job to care for someone requiring constant attention. The minimum duration of this leave has been extended from 65 weeks to 13 weeks, while the maximum allowed period is 104 weeks. It should be noted that carer's leave does not come with any payment, but the Carer’s Leave Act ensures that individuals who opt for this option will retain their positions during their absence.

2 reasons why employees should be treated fairly in relation to pay:

Discrimination occurs when individuals are treated unfairly in terms of pay or benefits because of their demographic characteristics, such as age, disability, race, sexual orientation, religion, or beliefs. For example, if a man and a woman hold the same job at a company, they should be paid equally. If an employer pays an employee less than others or denies certain benefits based on personal attributes, it would be considered illegal discrimination.

The impact of the psychological contract on morale and motivation within an organization is significant. If employees perceive unfair compensation, it can cause a decline in overall staff morale and motivation. Consequently, this leads to higher rates of absenteeism and below-average performance. From my own experience, employees frequently share their experiences with each other.

The main components of equalities legislation consist of direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimisation.

Direct discrimination refers to the act of an employer discriminating against someone based on their age, race, sex, disability, religion, or sexual orientation. To establish direct discrimination, a direct comparison is required. For example, in cases of disability discrimination, the comparison should be made between a person with a disability and someone without any disabilities or between individuals with different disabilities.

Indirect discrimination refers to situations where practices or policies, which may seem impartial, actually result in discriminatory effects on a particular group. It can also occur when seemingly fair requirements lead to discrimination. An illustration of this is changing working hours from 6am-2pm to 8am-4pm, which could be perceived as indirect gender-based discrimination. Female employees might argue that this shift change hinders their ability to pick up their children from school.

Victimization happens when an employee is treated unfairly by an employer due to different reasons in a discriminatory setting. A clear example of this occurs when an employee presents evidence against a manager regarding an incident, and then the same manager treats them unjustly.

The Minister for Justice and Equality has granted approval to a new workplace harassment code of practice. This code provides guidance to employers on addressing and preventing harassment, which encompasses actions that degrade one's dignity or create an uncomfortable or offensive environment. It highlights the importance of implementing a comprehensive policy to effectively deal with this issue.

The psychological contract is designed to address aspects of the employment relationship that are not included in a formal written contract, with the goal of decreasing insecurity. Its purpose is to find a balance between expectations and effort, and policies and procedures can help facilitate this concept.

Topics to be considered upon the conclusion of the employment agreement

Differences between fair and unfair dismissal:

When an employee is dismissed for any of the following reasons, the dismissal is considered to be automatically unfair:

Membership of or intention to join a trade union, as well as participation in trade union events during permitted work hours or outside of working hours, should not be influenced based on religious or political beliefs.

The legal proceedings against an employer can occur when an employee is either a party or a witness. These proceedings may involve cases related to race, color, sexual orientation, age, membership of the Traveller community, pregnancy and matters connected with it (such as giving birth or breastfeeding), availing rights under legislation for maternity leave, adoptive leave, carer's leave, parental leave or force majeure leave. Furthermore, unfair selection for redundancy can also be a subject of legal action.

Under the unfair dismissals legislation, redundancy is considered a legitimate cause for termination. Nonetheless, an employee can lodge a complaint if they perceive that the selection process was unjust. Whether they believe they were unfairly selected for redundancy or if they question the existence of a genuine redundancy situation, they retain the right to seek recourse for unfair dismissal.

Importance of exit interviews to both parties

Exit interviews are a useful method for employers to obtain input from employees about their job preferences and grievances. This feedback can be utilized to enhance the company/organization and potentially prevent legal disputes. The primary objective of the exit interview is to comprehend the factors that influenced an employee's decision to resign. In larger companies, these interviews can be conducted anonymously via computer-based surveys, which ensures employee comfort but presents difficulties for employers in obtaining precise information without identifying individuals.

Key stages to be followed in managing redundancies

The first step in effectively managing redundancy is to plan by having HR and line managers collaborate to discuss the departmental structure, which reveals the risk of redundancy. Following this, the next step involves fairly identifying employees who will be at risk through the development of redundancy selection criteria. The subsequent step is to notify the employees and conduct a consultation meeting. After informing employees about their redundancy risk, it is important to hold at least one additional consultation meeting.

The employer must acknowledge any argument presented by the employee. If redundancy happens, employees will receive written notice and an explanation of the redundancy payment they will receive. The employee has the opportunity to appeal the decision and demonstrate that the employer has actively explored other job opportunities within the company. If no alternative employment or appeals are made, the next step is to provide the redundancy payment. Following redundancy, employees may feel disheartened, so it is advisable to offer guidance on finding alternative employment.

Updated: Feb 16, 2024
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Impact of Employment Law on the Employment Relationship. (2016, Nov 05). Retrieved from

Impact of Employment Law on the Employment Relationship essay
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