Let’s admit it.
A letter from NERA can send a shiver down the spine of most employers.
NERA (National Employment Rights Authority) is the statutory body appointed to ensure employers compliance with employment legislation in Ireland. It carries out regular inspections to fulfill it’s obligations and ensure compliance by employers.
NERA also has the statutory power to prosecute employers where noncompliance persists or is serious but NERA also provides an information service for employers.
NERA inspections must be carried out in compliance with it’s NERA Inspection Procedures Manual and it’s Code of Practice for NERA employees. Generally, but not always, the employer will receive notice form NERA about it’s intention to inspect the records of the employer.
The inspection should take place at the employer’s business premises as employers are obliged by law to keep their employment records there.
The employer can choose to be represented by a solicitor or anyone else in their dealings with NERA and there will be a dedicated inspector assigned to deal with each case.
Generally NERA inspections are carried out
- After receiving a complaint
- As part of a compliance campaign dealing with a new or particular development in an industry or piece of legislation.
In general NERA will not tell you why they are inspecting unless it is a repeat inspection within 6 months of the first one.
The first part of the inspection is an interview with the employer prior to inspection of employers records and/or interviews with member of staff.
Checking on the employer’s compliance with statutory requirements as to the necessary employment records is a key part of the inspection.
Once the inspection is carried out a letter will issue concluding the investigation providing there is no evidence of non-compliance. If there are minor breaches then the Inspector will generally give the employer the opportunity to put things right.
However where there is evidence of underpayment of wages the inspector will calculate the underpayment for three years from date of inspection and seek to have this paid as soon as possible.
NERA can also bring prosecutions in serious or persistent cases of non-compliance and can share it’s information with the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social Protection.
If you feel as an employer that you have been treated unfairly you can bring a complaint to a NERA regional manager who will investigate your complaint.
Employer’s Checklist for NERA Inspections
Below you will find a handy employer’s checklist for a NERA (National Employment Rights Authority) inspection:
- Do you have your employer’s registration number with the Revenue Commissioners?
- Have you a list of all your employees together with their PPS numbers and addresses?
- Have you the dates of commencement of employment for all employees? (And dates of termination if applicable?)
- Have you given all your employees a written statement of terms and conditions of employment?
- Have you the employees’ job classification?
- Have you a record of their annual leave and public holidays taken by each employee?
- Have you a record of hours worked for all employees?
- Have you a record of all payroll details?
- Can you prove that you provide your employees with a written statement of pay?
- Have you a record or register of all employees under the age of 18?
- Have you employment permits where applicable?
- Have you filled out the template letter details that you will receive from NERA advising you of the inspection?
This checklist is not exhaustive and you should consult a solicitor to ensure compliance with all aspects of Irish employment law.