The Sectoral Employment Order (Construction Section) 2017
A Sectoral Employment Order for the general construction industry has been signed into law by the Minister for State at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
The Sectoral Employment Order (Construction Sector) 2017 (the “Order”) gives effect to measures recommended by the Labour Court in July 2017 relating to pay and conditions for employees in the general construction sector and takes effect from 19 October 2017.
Who does the Order affect?
The Order relates to the general construction sector, including operatives and general craft workers and so affects all employers and employees (whether agency or otherwise) in both “Building Firms” and “Civil Engineering Firms” (“the Sector”) which definitions are historically widely accepted.
The objective of the Order is to set the mandatory pay and conditions of employment for a basic hourly rate for the Sector and two higher rates of pay based on the level of skill of the operatives concerned. Therefore, employers within the Sector are first tasked with categorising their employees and workers.
Categories and Pay Rates
In relation to pay, specific mandatory pay rates have been set for categories of workers in the Sector, as follows:
- Category 1 Worker: Skilled general operatives who have worked in the Sector for more than one year: €17.04 per hour.
- Category 2 Worker: Skilled general operatives including scaffolders who hold an advanced scaffolding card and who have four years’ experience, banks operatives, steel fixers, crane drivers and heavy machine operators: €18.36 per hour.
- Craft and New Entrant Workers: Bricklayers/Stone Layers; Carpenters and Joiners; Floor Layers; Glaziers; Painters; Plasterers; Stone Cutters; Wood Machinists; Slaters and Tilers: €18.93 per hour. Apprentices in these trades are to be paid at one third of the full craft rate, rising to 90 per cent of the full craft rate in their fourth year. Notably the categories do not include electricians and plumbers. Operatives who are over the age of eighteen and entering the sector for the first time: €13.77 per hour.
The objective of the Order is to set the mandatory pay and conditions of employment for a basic hourly rate for the Sector and two higher rates of pay based on the level of skill of the operatives concerned.
Extra Time Pay
The Order also fixes unsocial hours payments at either “time plus a half”, or double time, depending on the timing of the work. The Order does not include provisions on travel times as the Labour Court requires further consideration of the many legal and technical issues before it is in a position to come to a definitive recommendation. Existing contractual arrangements in this regard remain in force.
The Order provides that employers must provide a pension scheme to workers from the age of 18, with no less favourable terms, including both employer and employee contribution rates, than those in the Construction Workers Pension Scheme.
The Order provides for a mandatory sick pay scheme with mandatory employee and employer contributions in line with the Construction Industry Sick Pay scheme. Employers who fail or neglect to make the authorised deductions shall be liable for the total contribution required to ensure that the worker’s sick pay benefits are maintained in full for the period of service with them.
The Order provides for individual and collective grievances with recourse in the first instance to the employer; then to the WRC and then the Labour Court.
No industrial action can take place in relation to matters the subject of the Order until the dispute resolution procedure has been exhausted.
Employers in the Sector will need to categorise their employees and then review their terms and conditions to ensure that they comply with the Order. The Order applies from the 19 October 2017 and is legally binding on the Sector. The provisions are enforceable by the WRC.