Agency Workers Directive

While Agency workers do not have the same employment rights as regular workers, under the EU Directive on Temporary Agency Work, Temporary Agency Workers have the right to equal treatment regarding basic employment conditions. The EU Directive on Temporary Agency Work came into effect on the 5 December 2011. The Directive is transposed into Irish Law by the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012. It provides that all Temporary Agency Workers must have equal treatment with regular workers in respect of hours of work and rest periods; pay and work done by pregnant woman, children and young people. The Act came into effect on the 16 May 2012. Temporary Agency Workers covered by the Act have the right to the same employment conditions as if they had been directly employed by the hirer under a Contract of Employment. The right to equal pay has retrospective effect to the 5 December 2011. The Act applies to Agency Workers employed by an Employment Agency who are assigned to work for a temporary period to another Organisation. The Act may exclude employees under a Managed Service Contract which is a Contract for Services, for example, cleaning, where the Contractor is responsible for managing and delivering the service. The Act does not apply to work done in the course of a Work Placement Scheme or any publicly funded Vocational Training or a Re-training Scheme. Pay is defined as including only basic pay, shift premium, piece rates, over-time premium, unsocial hours premium and Sunday premium. Pay does not include Occupational Pension Schemes, Financial Participation Schemes, Sick Pay Schemes, Benefits-in-Kind or Bonus Payments.

Credit Guarantee Bill 2012

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation recently published the Credit Guarantee Bill 2012. The scheme will provide a 75% state guarantee to banks against losses on qualifying loans to firms with growth and job creation potential.Initially, the scheme will facilitate up to €150 million of additional lending a year to SMEs. The cost of the scheme per € 150m of lending is € 6.38m. However, this does not take into account benefits to the exchequer which this lending will bring in terms of increased tax receipts and decreased social welfare payments. When these benefits are taken into account, the net gain is over €25m per €150m of lending. The State will enter into an agreement with each lender and will accredit the lender to participate. The guarantee will be given to each lender for a collection of loans ( a portfolio approach) rather than individually (loan-by- loan-basis). The choice of loans which make up the portfolio is at the discretion of the lender, provided the borrowers meet the eligibility criteria. An Annual portfolio claim limit will be set for the aggregate value of loans for each lender, thereby capping the State’s exposure. Once a lender’s default claims have reached their claim limit, any further losses must be borne by the lender and will not be eligible to be reclaimed from the State. Both the borrower and the bank retain exposure in the event of default. The State is exposed only to the portion of the loan guaranteed up to a pre-specified limit. The period for which the guarantee is provided (as distinct from the term of the loan) is three years. The State Aid framework sets the requirement that a premium must be charged to the borrower in return for the State guarantee. Recipient businesses will be required to pay the Minister (the Guarantor) an annual premium of 2% on the outstanding balance of the loan, assessed and collected annually in advance. A qualifying enterprise must not employ more than 250 persons. There are a number of exclusions including primary production in agriculture, horticulture and fisheries, refinancing of existing debts and overdrafts and property- related activities. The food and drinks sector will be eligible for the Scheme.


It is last-chance saloon for pension savers as the Government tax grab takes hold from next Sunday, The Sunday Times advises.

On September 25, trustees will be forced to deduct the Government’s new pension levy for 2011 from their schemes. It will be imposed on 0.6% of the value of their funds for four years and this squeeze will likely intensify next year with the reduction on tax reliefs on contributions, the newspaper warns.

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