Risks inherent in the Banded Hours Contract Bill 2016
This month the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is discussing the Banded Hours Contract Bill. Though this is a Private Members Bill, the current Dail configuration enables such Bills to make progress in the Houses of the Oireachtas.
CIPD has the following concerns about some possible unintended consequences of the Banded Hours Contract Bill 2016:
- The flexibility of Ireland’s labour market and ways of working is central to Ireland’s economic competitiveness, and jobs growth, and we need to be sure that this legislation does not damage our capacity to be flexible.
- The entitlement to request a move to an increased weekly band of hours is positioned as an automatic right for all, whereas it should aim to support those in part-time roles who have been working increased hours for a reasonable duration, and wish to have that reflected in their contract of employment.
- The Bill could have an adverse effect on workplace relations as employees may end up in conflict with each other, where they vie for increased hours and there is insufficient work available, and there is a risk of redundancy.
- The Bill in its current form risks restricting employment growth if employers are unwilling to offer low hours contracts of employment when they can no longer control working hours and payroll costs. Those who seek part-time work will lose out as fewer employers may be willing to offer such contracts.
- The requirement that an employer may only refuse a request if the business is experiencing severe financial difficulty is inappropriate. Even when facing such difficulties, employers need to maintain confidence to stay in business, and so are not in a position to acknowledge their difficulties.
- Administrative obligations, for example display of working hours, can have the effect of reducing flexibility, especially in our 2/7 world. It risks reducing the flexibility many employees like and underpins the market responsiveness of companies.