09 May 2023
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) today published its Annual Report for 2022.
In welcoming the Report, Mr. Neale Richmond T.D., Minister of State for Employment Affairs and Retail Business said “Last year was a very successful year for the WRC, 4,253 hearings were heard by the Adjudication Service in 2022, a 28% increase on the 3,320 held in 2021. In addition, almost 6,000 inspection visits took place and in December almost 700 visits alone took place to ensure that employers and employees were aware of what needed to be done under the Tips and Gratuities Act that commenced that month.”
Minister Richmond also highlighted the success of the WRC in recovering unpaid wages for workers, “As our economy continues to grow and we maintain effective full employment with over 2.57 million people at work in Ireland, we must ensure workers’ rights are upheld. In recovering €1.4 million in unpaid wages in 2022, the WRC is playing a crucial role in this regard.
Minister Richmond paid tribute to the former Director General, Liam Kelly, who retired in March 2023 and acknowledged his very significant contribution to the WRC over his term of office and wished him well in his retirement.
Dr David Begg, Chairperson of the Board of the WRC commented “The WRC is in the relationship business. Specifically, we try to resolve problems in a way that preserves positive relationships between employers and employees in the workplace. That is why restoring face-to-face engagement in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic was a critical imperative achieved in 2022.”
Ms Anna Perry, acting Director General of the WRC, said, “2022 was the year when the WRC returned to more of its pre-covid service delivery model in terms of face-to-face engagements, which was very much welcomed by all stakeholders. It was a challenging year with significant achievements made. The hard work and commitment of the staff over the past year has been critical in managing the demand and delivering this level of output.”
Ms Perry concluded by acknowledging the role of her predecessor, Liam Kelly, and thanked the Minister, the Department and the WRC stakeholders for their support over the period.
WRC Information and Customer Services Unit:
The WRC’s information line dealt with almost 60,000 calls in 2022. This is an increase on 2019 when, pre pandemic, the WRC dealt with 55,000 calls.
The WRC website handled over four million pageviews, a 23% increase on 2021.
WRC Inspection Division:
In 2022, the Inspectorate of the WRC recovered €1.4 million in unpaid wages
for employees and carried out 5,820 inspection visits over the period. In the course of
these inspection visits over 5,700 specific contraventions of legislation were detected.
Adjudication, Conciliation and Mediation Services:
Over the course of 2022, the number of hearings held, and decisions issued by the WRC Adjudication Service each increased by almost 30% and the impacts on case scheduling of Covid 19 and the Supreme Court judgment in 2021 abated significantly during 2022.
The WRC’s Conciliation Service, which is central to maintaining good workplace relations and effective resolution of disputes, resolved 88% of such disputes on which it conciliated during 2022. The Conciliation Service also facilitated discussions which led to the extension of the Building Momentum public service agreement.
Overall, in 2022 there was a 30% increase in parties willing to engage in mediation. The WRC broadened its service model to deliver mediation of unfair dismissal complaints on an in person basis by default. The Commission also began a 6-month pilot ‘late request’ mediation service.
The Report also states that:
A new Southern regional office was opened in Cork city where the full suite of WRC services is available to clients in the region. The WRC has a national footprint with five regional offices in Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Ennis and Sligo.
A new case management system for Conciliation Services was developed and rolled-out.
NOTES TO EDITOR
Workplace Relations Commission
The Workplace Relations Commission was established on 1 October 2015.
The main functions of the WRC are to:
- Promote the improvement and maintenance of good workplace relations.
- Promote and encourage compliance with relevant employment, equality and equal status legislation.
- Provide guidance in relation to compliance with Codes of Practice.
- Conduct reviews of, and monitor developments in, workplace relations generally.
- Conduct or commission relevant research and provide advice, information and the findings of research to Joint Labour Committees and Joint Industrial Councils.
- Advise the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment on the application of, and compliance with, relevant legislation.
- Provide information to the public in relation to employment legislation, (other than the Employment Equality Act).
With a wide workforce of just over 200 staff, supplemented by over 40 external adjudicators, and with offices in Dublin, Carlow, Cork, Ennis and Sligo, the WRC’s mission is to deliver high-quality service nationally, free of charge, which is
- speedy, user-friendly, independent, effective, impartial and cost-effective,
- provides variable means of dispute resolution, redress and effective enforcement, and
- improves workplace relations generally.