The new Order provides now for increased rates of pay from the 1st October 2020. The craft rate rises to €19.96 per hour. The category A worker is going to be €19.37 per hour and a category B worker at €17.97 per hour.
A new entrant operative worker who is over the age of 18 years and enters the sector for the first time will be paid a rate of €14.52 per hour. This applies for the first 2 years after entrance to the sector. Some employers believe that it applies where an operative joins them for the first time. That is not how it should be read. If the individual has 2 years’ service in the sector then they will be entitled to be either a category A or category B worker. A category A worker would apply to scaffolders who hold an advance scaffolding card and have had 4 years’ experience, banks operatives, steel fixers, crane drivers and heavy machinery operatives.
For this sector there was previously a sectoral employment order. There has been a significant change in this new Order. Previously the rates of pay applied to sites on the basis of the site normal working hours with overtime only being payable where the employee worked outside those site hours. The new Order now provides for a 39 hour working week with work undertaken between 7am – 5 pm Monday to Thursday and 7am – 4pm on Friday. The new Order provides for four days of 8 hours and one day of 7 hours. The working hours exclude rest breaks for example on a site that starts at 7am and assuming say one hour for breaks during the day at 4pm Monday – Thursday the employee would be entitled to get an overtime payment. Up until recently a number of employers would have structured matters on the basis of site times of up to 48 hours averaged with employees being paid at a standard rate an hour. From October this will change. This will mean that a number of construction companies are going to have to change the manner and way in which they operate.
This is going to have a significant impact on those employers who have set prices and have been working on a 48 hour working week. In such circumstances instead of paying at the standard rate they will now have possibly 9 hours at the overtime rate.
A number of construction companies will contend that they are not covered by this agreement as they are not members of the Construction Industry Federation. The Order applies to all in the construction industry whether they are a member of the CIF or not.
We would anticipate there would be a lot of resistance, from some employer’s, to paying the overtime. This was an issue which was quite evident in the past when we had the Registered Employment Agreement for the Construction Industry. That had been declared unconstitutional. This new Sectoral Order is very similar to the previous registered employment agreement. Our experience in the past was that there was a considerable number of cases that used to be taken, by construction operatives, particularly as regards getting the overtime rates which they would not have been paid. This Sectoral Order will be deemed to be part of any construction workers contract of employment.
For those putting in place contracts of employment for employees, in the construction industry, Section 3 of the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1973 specifically provides that the employer must notify employees of the existence of the said Sectoral Employment Order. That means employers will need to either set out provisions, in their contacts, explaining the relevant provisions of the Order or alternatively making sure that a copy is available for inspection by employees at their place of work.
The Order provides for a sick pay and pension scheme and there are mandatory deductions for contributions by both the employer and the employee in relation to the pension, sick pay and the death in service contributions.
*Before acting or refraining from acting on anything in this guide, legal advice should be sought from a solicitor.
**In contentious cases, a solicitor may not charge fees or expenses as a portion or percentage of any award of settlement.