WRC inspections hike a warning to employers over compliance

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The Workplace Relation Commission’s revelation that it carried out more than 5,000 unannounced inspections last year should serve as a warning to employers on compliance, a leading employment law adviser has said.

In 2020, the WRC Inspectorate carried out a total of 7,687 inspections, of which 5,202 were unannounced.

Martina McAuley, Director at HR Team, said the significant increase in completed inspections (4,804 overall in 2019, with 2,896 unannounced) “sends a strong message to employers to ensure they are compliant”.

WRC Inspections

According to the WRC’s annual report, it detected 1,760 employers who were in breach of employment law, and recovered unpaid wages amounting to €1.66m. A total 147 inspections were carried out jointly with An Garda Síochána and other regulatory bodies, leading to 81 successful prosecutions (representing a 90% success rate for the WRC).

Ms McAuley said employers would be best advised to heed the WRC report, with particular regard to the high number of unannounced inspections.

“The latest report from the WRC highlights how essential it is for employers to have the necessary policies and procedures in place to ensure they are compliant with employment legislation. Remember, ignorance is not an excuse when it comes to non-compliance – if you employ staff you must adhere to the law. We would urge any employers who are unsure of their obligations to seek professional assistance in order to avoid risk.”

Ms McAuley added: “One area of non-compliance detected by the WRC last year involved workers who did not have the right to work in Ireland. It is important that employers are aware they are required to hold a valid permit on file for any employee requiring a permit to work in Ireland. It is essential that employers keep records of when work permits are due to expire and ensure that employees have received renewed permits when necessary.

“An important tip for employers would be to ensure they are not only complying with employment legislation, but also keeping records to prove that they are.”

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