Workplace Relations Commission 2017 Annual Report – Key Takeaways for Employers

Last updated: June 22nd, 2022

Key performance metrics for 2017, report that there were over 14,000 complaints received, with specific complaints relating to;

  • 27% related to Pay issues,
  • 14% related to Unfair Dismissal,
  • 13% related to Working Time,
  • 11% related to Discrimination/Equality,
  • 11% related to Trade Disputes/IR issues,
  • 8% related to Terms and Conditions of Employment

The WRC have reported that their key goals for 2018 include enhancing added value in terms of customer service, outreach services, driving efficiencies through technological innovation and the provision of bespoke training, advice, information and data that will be of assistance to employers, employees, trade union and employment rights and industrial relations representatives and practitioners generally.

Some of the key aspects of the report in relation to workplace relations are as follows;

  • The WRC is aiming to promote its mediation services more broadly as 2017 saw an increase in face-to-face pre-adjudication mediations as compared to 2016.
  • 11 additional adjudication officers were recruited which had a positive impact on hearing wait times. The current wait time for a hearing date is 7 weeks and the WRC aims to reduce this further.
  • The WRC will work with adjudicators to ensure that all decisions are robust and are presented in a consistent manner in terms of text and layout. They are also hoping to make further progress in terms of the time frame between the receipt of a complaint to the issuing of the decision, with a target of 6 months, unless there are circumstances outside of the control of the service.
  • The conciliation service, which aims to resolve wage or pay disputes in the public and private sector, reports an 80% success rate in dispute resolution.
  • The inspection and enforcement division concluded just under 4,000 inspections with the same amount of inspections expected to continue into 2018. The division will continue its operation in the Fisheries section, Equine Sector and will initiate a specific campaign in the agriculture sector, placing particular emphasis on transient employment in the “Market Garden” sub-sector.
  • The advisory service, working with the HSA, will review and identify possible improvements that could be made with regards to the efficacy of the Codes and practices in relation to Bullying and Harassment.

The WRC is still striving towards improving efficiencies and reducing wait times from the time a complaint is lodged to the issuing of the decision. Graphite HRM would be supportive of the objectives for 2018, particularly in relation to utilising medication and conciliation as early intervention.

A review of the codes of practice in relation Bullying and Harassment is something that both employer and employee representatives have been lobbying for as the current code of practice has been argued to be outdated, particularly after the landmark supreme court decision of Ruffley v The Board of Management of Saint Anne’s School overturned the High Court’s decision in relation to the definition of bullying in the workplace.

The findings of the report and the key objectives into 2018 emphasise the strong employment rights within Ireland and the powers that the WRC has. If any clients have concerns in relation to compliance issues, particularly if you receive notification of an inspection, it is important that you seek advice from the advice line or from our consultancy team on 01 886 0350

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