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Minister Richard Bruton Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Five employment bodies set for merger, says Bruton

Backlogs cleared and a single complaint form has replaced 30, as agencies gear up for merger into single unit.

THE MINISTER FOR Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton has given a progress report on plans to restructure the State’s five employment bodies.

Following two public consultations, he announced this morning that the Workplace Relations Service will replace the Labour Relations Commission, the National Employment Rights Authority, the Equality Tribunal and some functions of the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT). The appeals body will constitute the Labour Court incorporating the appeals functions of the EAT. A single website now represents all bodies.

A detailed reform plan will be submitted to the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, for its consideration and discussion next week, and the changes are expected to be in place by the end of the year.

“Reform of the State’s employment rights and industrial relations bodies has two principal goals: to deliver a better service for employers and
employees, and to deliver savings for the taxpayer, businesses and workers,” said Bruton.

To date we have made substantial progress and have delivered real improvements for users of the service.

A single body of first instance, called the Workplace Relations Commission will now hear all complaints. It will be chaired by a single adjudicator, replacing the three person tribunals in existence in some cases. There will now be a single route of appeal to an expanded Labour Court.

The aim is to have a three month time-limit from complaint to hearing, replacing the current two-year wait in some cases.

Since announcing one year ago his intention to reform the State’s five industrial bodies, Minister Bruton said that:

  1. Complaints are now acknowledged on average, within 5 days of receipt, down from eight months in the past.
  2. A single complaint form replaces 30 forms previously in use.
  3. There are no backlogs for Rights Commissioner hearings. In 2010, the backlog was 142 days.

Work has now started on drafting the legislation that will merge the agencies, with plans to enact it in the autumn and have a single agency operating by the end of the year.

Budget 2013: The speculation so far >

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