Tuesday, 4 December 2018
Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: Committee Stage
The section does not specify a small employer. The section clearly applies to all employers and if the provisions are removed, the obligation on all employers to provide employees with a statement will be removed. In that case, any employer could simply fail, refuse or decline to provide an employee with a statement. We would gut the effective function of the Act. I recognise Senator Ardagh's concerns. Perhaps she might consider a different amendment to the section. The phrase "without reasonable cause" in the section means there is a provision that where there is reasonable cause, for example, a business facing exceptional circumstances such as a threat of liquidation, a case could be made. The courts have been generous in the interpretation of reasonable cause in the past. There is some provision that could cover extenuating circumstances for a small employer. The proposed amendment would completely remove the obligation and a large corporation with 200 employees could simply fail to provide them with a statement. I cannot support it or the proposed amendment to delete the sanction. If we delete that sanction, it will be a toothless Bill. The bad practices which the Bill is endeavouring to stamp out have real impacts. We need to take that change seriously.