Employment law: an overview
Employment law is a broad area encompassing all areas of the employer/employee relationship except the negotiation process covered by labour law and collective bargaining. See, Labour Law & Collective Bargaining and Arbitration. Employment law consists of many Irish and European statutes, administrative regulations, and judicial decisions. Many employment laws (e.g., minimum wage regulations) were enacted as protective labour legislation. Other employment laws take the form of public insurance, such as unemployment compensation.
Specific areas within the broad category of employment law covered under their own topical entries include:
Labour: an overview
The goal of labour laws is to equalize the bargaining power between employers and employees. The laws primarily deal with the relationship between employers and unions. Labour laws grant employees the right to form trade unions and allows employers and employees to engage in certain activities (e.g. strikes, picketing, seeking injunctions, lockouts) so as to have their requirements fulfilled.
The area of labour law is governed by both Irish and European Legislation and judicial decisions. It is also governed by regulations and decisions of administrative agencies.
Collective Bargaining and Labour Arbitration: An Overview
Collective bargaining consists of negotiations between an employer and a group of employees so as to determine the conditions of employment. The result of collective bargaining procedures is a collective agreement. Employees are often represented in bargaining by a union or other labour organisation. Collective bargaining is governed by statutory laws, administrative agency regulations, and judicial decisions. In areas where national legislation overlap, European laws are pre-empted.
The main body of law governing collective bargaining is the Labour Relations Act. It explicitly grants employees the right to collectively bargain and join trade unions.
Arbitration is a method of dispute resolution used as an alternative to litigation. It is commonly designated in collective agreements between employers and employees as the way to resolve disputes. The parties select a neutral third party (an arbitrator) to hold a formal or informal hearing on the disagreement. The arbiter then issues a decision binding on the parties. At present there are many pieces of legislation which govern the practice of arbitration. The Arbitration Bill 2008 is presently going through its governmental stages, which will bring all laws together. It is a useful method to achieve a binding result without the costly nature of Court actions.