The employment bill currently going through the Oireachtas is inherently anti-business, a hotels industry body has said.
The Cork branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) said the current form of the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017 would drive up costs for employers and negatively impact the tourism industry.
Under the bill, employers must give employees basic terms of employment within five days, and prohibits zero- hour contracts except in situations of genuine casual employment. It also gives a new minimum payment for employees called in to work but sent home again without work, and gives more certainty to so-called banded hour workers relating to their working hours and income.
Cork IHF branch chair Neil Grant said that the bill would, instead, threaten employment in the tourism industry, adding to costs associated with the increase in Vat to 13.5% and minimum wage increase.
“Nobody objects to banning zero-hour contracts, which are almost non-existent in Ireland, but legislation which reduces labour market flexibility, under criminal sanction for employers, will drive up costs beyond inflation.
“Combined with other recent measures such as the Vat rate increase, minimum wage increase and car-hire vehicle registration tax adjustment, these regulations will only serve to make Ireland more costly for the hospitality sector and, thus, less attractive for tourists,” he said.
He said combined with Brexit looming, “it is difficult to see how the tourism and hospitality sector will sustain, let alone thrive”.
In response to the Cork IHF branch, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) said the legislation was fair, and was not a threat to the industry.
Ictu industrial officer Liam Birney said: “We believe the legislation is balanced and fair and provides minimum conditions of employment and is not a threat to employers offering fair terms and conditions.”
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty this month said the bill would “provide one of the most significant changes to working conditions in a generation”.