Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
62. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if the Workplace Relations Commission and his Department are monitoring the number of workplaces adopting the Workplace Relations Commission Code of Conduct on the Right to Disconnect; if so, the number of employers that have adopted the code of conduct; if his Department and the Workplace Relations Commission plan to report on its implementation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53479/21]
In November 2020, I requested that the WRC prepare a draft Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect, in accordance with section 20 (2) of the Workplace Relations Act 2015. The WRC Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect was launched on 1st April 2021. I believe it is too early to review its application, though I am open to doing so at a later stage.
Codes of Practice are written guidelines, agreed in a consultative process, setting out guidance and best practice for employers and employees with respect to compliance with employment legislation. Employers, employees, and their representative bodies find Codes of Practice particularly useful as reference points and they often serve as the basis for internal policies and procedures within firms and across sectors.
While failure to follow a Code prepared under section 20(1)(a) of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 is not an offence in itself, section 20(9) provides that in any proceedings before a Court, the Labour Court or the WRC, a Code of Practice shall be admissible in evidence and any provision of the Code which appears to the court, body or officer concerned to be relevant to any question arising in the proceedings shall be considered in determining that question.
The Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect is a best practice guide and template to remind employers of the statutory obligations around record keeping and ensuring compliance regarding maximum average weekly working hours permitted for employees and employees statutory rest period entitlements. The Code is also aimed at ensuring employees are aware of their statutory entitlements and how to raise concerns in relation to non-compliance.
Whilst the WRC does not have a role in monitoring implementation of any Code of Practice, ensuring employers compliance with their statutory obligations is part and parcel of every WRC Inspection undertaken.