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08th Aug 2018

New Legislation “Will See Restaurants Close” On These Two Days During The Week

Darragh Berry

The Restaurant Association of Ireland is saying that new legislation will see restaurants close two days in the week.

The are saying that new Zero Hero Contract Legislation will mean that establishments will be forced to close on Sundays and Mondays.

More commonly known as the ‘Zero Hours’ or ‘Banded Hours Legislation’ Bill, the Employment Bill 2017 could have a detrimental impact on small business owners in Ireland.

A Bill concerning how employers allocate additional working hours passed Committee stage last month, leaving many representative organisations, including the Restaurants Association of Ireland, highly disappointed. The recent amendment which restricts employers in allocating additional working hours will pose practical, industrial relations and legal problems for employers across a range of sectors which includes the hospitality and restaurant trade.

Under the Bill, there will be a provision that requires employers to offer any additional hours that become available to existing part-time staff. This requirement is not subject to the employee having appropriate qualifications, experience or skills. There is a lack of clarity around this provision as no reference is made to whether the additional hours available are capable of being carried out by the part-time employee. The Restaurants Association of Ireland also feels that this Bill is obstructive in allowing a business owner to run their business freely and allocate hours how they feel is appropriate and fair.

The band widths have been revised as follows in a new section 16:

  • A: From 3 hours or more to less than 6 hours
  • B: 6 hours or more to less than 11
  • C: 11 hours or more to less than 16
  • D: 16 hours or more to less than 21
  • E: 21 hours or more to less than 26
  • F: 26 hours or more to less than 31
  • G: 31 hours or more to less than 36 hours
  • H: 36 hours and over

The RAI feel that these bandwidths do not allow for the fluctuation of hours during busier times of the year and would affect seasonal businesses primarily. Employers may have to choose between being compliant with legislation and flexible in regard to employee working hours. This legislation does not contain any criteria for exemption. For example, an employer who needs to reduce working hours to match business needs.

Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association commented: “The Restaurants Association of Ireland is entirely opposed to this Bill as we know it could be the final straw for many small businesses and rural restaurants that are already under significant strain. We need initiatives and legislation that will support these businesses, not close them for good.”

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