2015 will be a key year for workers and their families
This year will see real benefits in workers’ wage packets while key legislation will enhance their rights and working conditions.
Key legislation and reform
Since his appointment last July, Minister Nash has been very pro-active in the area of workers’ rights and the initiatives announced and being progressed represent the delivery of Labour’s dignity of work agenda. Major reforms that will be realised in 2015 include:
- Legislation for an improved framework for workers who seek to better their terms and conditions where collective bargaining is not recognised by their employer. It is anticipated that the draft legislation will become law by mid-2015;
- The Low Pay Commission set up early this year by Minister Ged Nash, will report to the Government on the appropriate rate for the minimum wage
- An inquiry, also established by Minister Ged Nash, will report to the Government on the prevalence of zero hour and low hour contracts and the impact of such contracts on employees;
- The proposed Workplace Relations Bill, currently at Report stage will, when enacted, replace the current five workplace relations bodies with two. The new system will provide a world-class service for employers and employees, while also delivering savings for the taxpayer. The new workplace relations system will comprise two bodies – the Workplace Relations Commission which will deal with complaints at first instance, and the Labour Court which will deal with appeals;
- 200,000 SMEs and 12,000 start-ups every year will be able to substantially reduce the costs and time associated with establishing and running a company, as a result of a range of reforms to be introduced as part of the landmark Companies Bill. The Bill, which has passed all stages in the Houses of the Oireachtas and has been sent to the President.
The impact of Budget 2015
Workers will also begin to see the impact of Budget 2015 in their take home pay at the end of this month, particularly low and middle-income earners. We will see the impact of
- an increase in the USC entry point to €12,012, removing a further 80,000 low paid workers from paying USC
- a cut in lower rates of USC from 2% to 1.5% and from 4% to 3.5%
- a widening of the standard rate band of income tax by €1,000 to €33,800, taking 33,000 people out of the top rate
- a cut of 1% in the top rate of tax for workers earning from €33,800 up to €70,000
Progress on Jobs in 2014
There are now 27,600 extra people at work than a year ago, with 80,000 additional people at work since the realisation of annual Action Plan for Jobs. The infographic above highlights this progress – click HERE for greater detail while the info graphic below summarises the main achievements. This progress will continue into 2015.