The Sectoral Employment Order (Construction Sector) 2019

Introduction:

The Sectoral Employment Order (Construction Sector) 2019 (the '2019 Order') will come into effect from 1 October 2019. This order shall replace the Sectoral Employment Order (Construction Sector) 2017 (the ‘2017 Order’). The order was signed on 28 May 2019 by the Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD.

Application:

As with the 2017 Order, the 2019 Order applies to workers within the general Construction Sector (as defined in the Order) (the ‘Sector’) employed as Craftspersons, Construction Operatives and Apprentices (each a ‘Worker’).

A Worker for the purpose of the 2019 Order is any person aged 15 years or more who has entered into or works under a contract with an employer (including through an employment agency), whether the contract be for manual labour or otherwise, whether the said contract be expressed or implied, oral or in writing, and whether it be a contract of service or of apprenticeship or a contract personally to execute any work or labour.

It is not possible to opt out of the provisions of the 2019 Order and its terms apply to all Workers in the Sector whether their Employer is a member of the Construction Industry Federation or not.

Categories of Worker

The 2019 Order provides for a number of different categories of workers and these are defined as follows;

  • Category A Worker shall be a Scaffolder who holds an Advanced Scaffolding Card and has four years’ experience, a Banks operative, a Steel Fixer; a Crane Driver and Heavy Machine Operator;
  • Category B Worker – all Skilled General Operatives who have worked in the Sector for more than 2 years,
  • A Craftsperson shall be entitled to the top hourly rate and shall include Bricklayers/Stone Layers, Carpenters and Joiners; Floor Layers; Glaziers; Painters; Plasterers; Stone Cutters; Wood Machinists; Slaters and Tilers.

Rates of Pay

From the date on which the 2019 Order becomes effective, the following basic hourly rates will apply:

Category of Worker

Rates  applying for the period from  1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020

Rates applying from 1 October 2020

A Craftsperson

€19.44 per hour (the ‘Craft Rate’)

€19.96 per hour (the ‘2020 Craft Rate’)

Category A Worker

€18.86 per hour (this rate is unchanged from the 2017 Order)

€19.37 per hour

Category B Worker

€17.50 per hour (this rate is unchanged from the 2017 Order)

€17.97 per hour

Apprentice

One third of the Craft Rate and rising to 90% of the Craft Rate in the fourth year

One third of the 2020 Craft Rate and rising to 90% of the 2020 Craft Rate in the fourth year

New Entrant Operative Workers

An increased hourly rate of €14.14 per hour (provided that the New Entrant is over the age of 18 years and entering the sector for the first time)

€14.52 per hour (same conditions apply to New Entrants)

 

The following are the main provisions that have been updated from the 2017 Order and/or introduced by the 2019 Order.

  1. Pension – As in the 2017 Order, the Order provides for a mandatory pension scheme the terms of which are to be no less favourable than those set out in the Construction Workers Pension Scheme. However, the rates of employer and employee contributions to the said scheme have increased by approximately 3%.
  1. Dispute Resolution – The 2019 Order sets out a procedure to be followed in the event of dispute prior to any form of industrial action (including strike or lock-out) taking place which in summary is as follows;
    • Individual Dispute
      • A dispute shall first be raised with the employer who then has a requirement to respond within 5 working days. A notice in writing of the dispute shall be given by the individual or their trade union to the relevant organisation representing the employer;
      • if a dispute is not resolved, it shall be referred to the Adjudication Service of the Workplace Relations Commission (‘WRC’); and
      • either party can appeal the outcome of the Adjudication Hearing to the Labour Court.
    • Collective Dispute
      • A dispute shall first be raised with the employer who then has a requirement to respond within 5 working days. A notice in writing of the dispute shall be given by the workers or their trade union to the relevant organisation representing the employer;
      • if a dispute is not resolved, the matter shall be referred to the Conciliation Service of the WRC; and
      • should the issue remain unresolved, it shall be referred to the Labour Court for investigation and recommendation.

It is interesting to note that since the 2017 Order, the Labour Court rejected claims for travel allowance made by unions representing construction workers and as expected this has been followed by the legislature and the 2019 Order does not provide for travel allowance for workers in the Sector. Of course, the 2019 Order does not affect those workers who have a contractual right to payment of travel expenses.

For further information in relation to this matter, please contact Bríd McCoy (Partner), Andrea de Courcey (Solicitor), or your usual AMOSS contact.

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