Employers are obliged to keep certain statuary records to show compliance with employment law and that employees are receiving their entitlements. These records must be kept for three years and are available for inspection by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). It is your obligation as an employerto keep track of important documents and information on whom you are employing on the farm or business.

The main records required are:

  • Employer registration number with the Revenue Commissioners.
  • Full name, address and personal public service (PPS) number for each employee (full-time and part-time).
  • Terms of employment for each employee.
  • Payroll details – ie gross to net, rate per hour, overtime, deductions, shift and other premiums and allowances, commissions and bonuses, service charges, etc.
  • Copies of payslips.
  • Employee job classifications.
  • Dates of commencement and, where relevant, termination of employment.
  • Hours of work for each employee (including start and finish times, meal breaks and rest periods).
  • Register of employees under 18 years old.
  • Whether board and/or lodgings are provided and relevant details
  • Holiday and public holiday entitlements for each employee.
  • Any documentation necessary to demonstrate compliance with employment rights legislation.
  • Additional records may be required depending on the business involved.

    WRC inspections

    The purpose of WRC inspections is to check the employer is complying with employment legislation. The inspector is likely to examine employment contracts, terms and conditions of employment, annual leave records, time sheets, and various other employee records. When a farm is selected for inspection, the farmer will usually receive a written notification containing a proposed date and time for a visit, however, in some instances, an inspector may turn up unannounced. In 2022, 60% of inspections were unannounced.

    Preparing for the visit

    If you receive notification of a proposed inspection, it will come with a template containing questions to be completed in advance of the visit and available for inspection on the day.

    What to expect

    An interview will take place with the employer or his/her representative. The inspector will ask to examine the relevant documentation. Once the records have been examined, employees will be interviewed to check the veracity of records and information provided during the inspection. The WRC can interview employees without the employer’s permission. CL

    The main functions of the WRC

  • To promote the improvement of workplace relations and maintain good workplace relations.
  • To promote and encourage compliance with employment legislation.
  • To provide guidance in relation to compliance with Codes of Practice
  • To review and monitor developments in workplace relations.
  • To conduct or commission relevant research and provide advice, information, and findings of research to Joint Labour Committees and Joint Industrial Councils.
  • To advise the Minister for ?Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in relation to the application of, and compliance with, relevant legislation.
  • To provide information to the public on employment legislation.
  • Case study

    In February, a garage worker who worked 364 days a year during his 51 years or service was dismissed without notice due to alleged stealing.

    The garage worker brought a number of claims relating to unfair dismissal, working time, minimum wage, notice and a failure to provide a statement of terms and conditions of employment.

    The WRC found fair procedures were not followed. An award of €10,000 was made to cover the unfair dismissal aspect. The claimant was awarded €5,000 due to the failure to provide him with a 24-hour rest break every seven days. The complainant was also awarded €5,000 as a result of the employer breaching the 48-hour working week limit imposed by the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.

    The case highlighted the importance of following a fair process while engaging in disciplinary action, as well as the importance of maintaining adequate records of working hours.

    The failure of the employer to maintain adequate working records resulted in the complainant’s account of working hours being taken as fact.

    Read more

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