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Employees told to seek advice if hours and pay are cut



Warning: Richard Grogan urged people to seek advice

Warning: Richard Grogan urged people to seek advice

Warning: Richard Grogan urged people to seek advice

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) could be facing a 'tsunami' of cases down the line as the repercussions of Covid-19 on jobs and salaries hit home.

Businesses may be reopening after the lockdown, but not all employees are being offered their job back on the same terms, with pay cuts and hours being reduced causing major concerns for many.

Employment law expert Richard Grogan said Covid-19 means that "we are in uncharted territory" at the moment. "We are getting a lot of issues from both employers and employees.

"The starting point for any query is: 'Can we look at the contract.' That will determine what the rights and obligations of both employees and employers are. The reality of it is a lot of employees do not have properly drafted contracts.

"To a certain extent we are in uncharted territory until businesses get back up and running," he said.

"But that period will create a tsunami of cases to the WRC," said Mr Grogan.

He believes this in turn will lead to a flood of appeals to the Labour Court, where people can appeal adjudications made by the WRC.

The Dublin-based solicitor stressed it is important that advice should be sought by both sides, as an employee who does not follow correct procedures can be left without redundancy entitlements and employers could face large payouts.

"What we are finding is a huge level of ignorance over their rights and obligations from both sides."

He said that for employees: "If you are called back on reduced hours, get advice from your union or employment law solicitor. An employee who gets this wrong, because they think they know what the law is, could be facing a situation where they have no right to redundancy.

"The WRC applies the law. If people don't comply with the rules or regulations they get nothing."

Irish Independent