New “On the spot” Fines for Employment Law Offences

HRHQ On the spot fines

by Sarah Lawn, Senior associate in the Employment Law Group at Arthur Cox LLP

Regulations have been published setting out new “on the spot” fines that can be imposed on employers by a Workplace Relations Commission (“WRC”) inspector for employment law offences.

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The Workplace Relations Act 2015 (Fixed Payment Notice) Regulations 2023 (the “Regulations”) which were published on 12 January 2024, consolidate new and existing fixed payment notices for employment law offences.  The Regulations also set out the form of a fixed payment notice to be issued by a WRC inspector, and revoke existing regulations (S.I. No. 419/2015 and S.I. No. 32/2017).

Fixed Payment Notices

The complete list of fines that can be imposed for offences under employment law legislation is set out in the table below.

Fine (€) Offence Legislation
€2,000 Employer fails in a collective redundancy situation to consult with employees’ representatives and to provide them with mandatory specified information. Section 11, Protection of Employment Act 1977
€1,500 *Employer fails, without reasonable cause, to provide an employee with their terms of employment within one month of their commencement date or provides false or misleading information to the employee. Sections 6B(1) and (2) of Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994
Employer fails to provide an employee with a written statement of wages and the nature and amount of any deductions from wages. Section (4), Payment of Wages Act 1991
Employer does not provide an employee with a statement of the average hourly rate of pay for a pay reference period at the employee’s request. Section 23, National Minimum Wage Act 2000
€750 *Employer does not provide employees with a written statement on the distribution of tips and gratuities or fails to treat a service charge as a tip. Sections 4B(8) and 4D(2) of the Payment of Wages Act 1991 (as inserted by the Payment of Wages (Amendment) (Tips and Gratuities) Act 2022)
€500 *Employer does not display a ‘tips and gratuities notice’ or a ‘contract Workers Tips and Gratuities Notice’. Sections 4E(2) and 4F(3) of the Payment of Wages Act 1991 (as inserted by the Payment of Wages (Amendment) (Tips and Gratuities) Act 2022)

*New fines under the Regulations

Employers should note that the above fines are per breach of the relevant employment provision and therefore have the potential to be significant for large employers.

Where the fine is not paid within 42 days, the employer will be referred to the WRC’s internal legal affairs committee who will then decide whether to proceed with prosecution of the offence.  If an employer is convicted on summary conviction of any of the above offences, it will be liable to a Class C fine (currently €2,500).

The Government announcement stressed that “Inspectors from the Workplace Relations Commission will continue to visit premises around the country to see if they are in line with the legislation on tips, and if they find a breach, they can issue a fine.”

The Payment of Wages (Amendment) (Tips and Gratuities) Act 2022 came into effect on 1 December 2022 and requires a review of the legislation after it has been in effect for one year.

This article is provided for information purposes only and is not legal or other advice.

About the author

Sarah Lawn is a senior associate in the Employment Law Group at Arthur Cox. She specialises in providing practical, commercially focused employment law advice to a wide variety of domestic and international clients. Sarah has considerable experience supporting clients in a broad range of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters. She regularly advises on complex issues arising in the context of workplace investigations, protected disclosures, collective redundancies, and employee exits. Sarah frequently advises clients facing employee claims before the Workplace Relations Commission, the Labour Court, and the civil courts.