Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: From the Seanad
Seanad amendment No. 3 was made to improve the drafting of the table of bands of weekly working hours in section 16 of the Bill, which were put forward by Sinn Féin. It is not intended to alter the width of the bands in any way, shape or form. The amendment emerged because the Office of the Attorney General had advised against using the terms "of more" and "less than" in the table. For example, a person who has worked an average of four hours in a reference period is presumably intended to fall in band A, the three to six hours category. However, an employer could genuinely argue that this person should fall into band G, the 31 to 36 hours category, on the basis that four hours is less than 31 and 36 hours. I know what we are all seeking to achieve in respect of banded hours and nobody wants any ambiguity. We were satisfied, based on the advice of the Office of the Attorney General, that the table of bands proposed in the amendment will remove the uncertainty that would be caused if the amendment was carried, while respecting the bands initiated through the amendment from Sinn Féin and accepted on Committee Stage.