Recommendations on Employment Law Compliance Bill 2008

1. Introduce penalties in Compliance Notices (Section 47) According to the ELCB, the NERA Inspectorate will be enforcing regulations and recovering monies owed to employees by serving Compliance Notices to employers. This is how NERA operates already, i.e. “pay your workers back or we’ll take you to court.” In effect this means that employers still just have to pay what they owe. There is no added deterrent for employers who are caught in violation. The message communicated in this is, “rob the bank and if you’re caught, the worst that can happen is that you will be asked to pay some of the money back.” It is essential to introduce deterrents here in the ELCB. One potential deterrent could be that money owed to workers is to be paid with high interest penalties accruing from the time of the infraction, under the full extent of employment law. According to section 62 of the ELCB, employers who do not post employment rights information get a €500 fine and are to be named. This is a welcome development. Yet an employer who cheats workers out of thousands of euros in wages and is caught receives no penalty and is not named. This anomaly needs to be rectified in the legislation.

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