2024 Priority Legislation for Publication Relating to Employment Law

2024 Legislation

by Kevin Langford, Partner and Head of Employment, Arthur Cox LLP

The Government recently published its Spring Legislative Programme for 2024. In this article, we highlight some of the legislation for publication and prioritisation, as well as other bills which are expected to be of relevance to employment law matters.

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Priority legislation for publication

The following Bills are expected to be prioritised for publication and progression in the forthcoming Oireachtas session and we would anticipate that some, if not all, may be enacted in 2024:

Title of Bill Purpose of Bill
Civil Service Regulation and Public Service Management (Amendment) Bill The main purpose is to amend the Civil Service Regulation Acts 1956–2005 and the Public Service Management Act 1997 to provide that disciplinary action up to and including dismissal in the Civil Service can be assigned below the level of the head of the organisation (Appropriate Authority) and other miscellaneous amendments to modernise the legislation based on the General Scheme. Work is ongoing.
Automatic Enrolment Retirement Savings System Bill Auto-enrolment is a quasi-mandatory pension system where employees, subject to certain parameters, are auto-enrolled into a quality-assured retirement savings system, with freedom to opt-out. Its purpose is to increase supplementary pension coverage.  Pre-Legislative Scrutiny was completed in June 2023. Work is ongoing.

Priority legislation for drafting

The following Bills of relevance to employment law matters are expected to be a priority for drafting:

Title of Bill Purpose of Bill
Equality Acts Amendment Bill To provide for legislative amendments arising from the review of the Equality Acts.  Heads are in preparation.
Finance (Tax) Appeals Bill To amend the Finance (Tax Appeals) Act 2015 to allow for the appointment of non-temporary Commissioners with different tiers of responsibility and potential amendments to address the Zalewski case.  Heads are in preparation.
Social Welfare (Pay-Related Social Insurance and Jobseeker’s Pay-Related Benefit Provisions) Bill Legislation to provide for PRSI increases as recently approved by Government. The Bill will also provide for the Jobseeker’s Pay-Related Benefit scheme.  Heads of Bill approved in January 2024. The Joint Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands has invited written submissions from interested groups or individuals on the general scheme of the Bill. Closing date for submissions is 26 January 2024.
Social Welfare and Civil Registration (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill To amend social welfare and civil registration legislation.  Heads are in preparation.
Railway Safety (Amendment Bill) To amend the statutory limits for concentration of alcohol in blood, urine and breath for a railway safety critical worker and to update procedures for sampling and testing of workers for intoxicants (alcohol, drugs) and associated procedures under the Railway Safety Act 2005. In addition, there are proposals for some updates to other provisions in the Act including some relating to functions of the Commission for Railway Regulation and an amendment of the Public Transport Regulation Act 2009.  Work is ongoing.

Other Bills relevant to Employment law matters

Preparatory work is underway in respect of the following Bills:

Title of Bill Purpose of Bill
Maternity Leave for Members of the Oireachtas Bill To provide for an entitlement to maternity leave for Members of the Oireachtas.  Heads are in preparation.
Employment (Restriction of Certain Mandatory Retirement Ages) Bill To introduce measures that allow, but do not compel, an employee to stay in employment until the State Pension Age.  Heads are in preparation.
Protection of Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) (Amendment) Bill To address a number of issues identified with the operation of the Act governing the protection of employees during their employer’s insolvency: Addressing Supreme Court judgment by fully transposing Article 2(1) of Directive 2008/94/EC (the Employer’s Insolvency Directive) Incorporating various technical amendments to improve the operation of the Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) Act 1984. Heads are in preparation.
Registration of Trade Union Bill The purpose of the Bill is to modernise and consolidate the existing legislation regarding the registration requirements for trade unions.  Heads are in preparation.

Bills currently on the Dáil Order Paper, as of 16 January 2024

The following Bills are currently on the Dáil Order Paper:

Bills on Dáil Order Paper
Employment (Collective Redundancies and Miscellaneous Provisions) and Companies (Amendment) Bill 2023   Our briefing on this Bill is available here: Progress on Increased Protection for Employees in Insolvency Situations – Arthur Cox LLP
Employment Permits (Consolidation and Amendment) Bill 2022

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and is not legal or other advice.

About the author
Kevin Langford is a partner and head of the Employment Law Group at Arthur Cox. He is an experienced employment lawyer who places a lot of emphasis on offering practical and pragmatic solutions to clients.

Kevin advises corporate clients in a wide range of sectors including pharmaceutical, healthcare and life sciences, technology, financial services and insurance, transport, manufacturing, distribution and retail. He also advises statutory bodies, Governmental and public institutions, universities, cultural institutions, schools and hospitals. Kevin frequently advises law firms in other jurisdictions on matters relating to Irish employment law. He represents clients before the Workplace Relations Commission, the Labour Court and the civil courts in employment litigation such as unfair dismissal, equality/discrimination, occupational stress, fixed-term and part-time work, health & safety, restraint of trade, strikes and picketing.