The aim of the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) is to secure compliance with employment rights legislation. Its main activities include monitoring employment conditions through its inspectors. It can also enforce compliance and seek redress.
NERA was established on an interim basis in February 2007 as an office of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. NERA Enforcement and Prosecution Services ensure the compliance and enforcement of employment rights legislation.
Since 4 January 2012 information on rights and entitlements under employment legislation is provided by Workplace Relations Customer Services through a single point of contact. There is also a new online complaint form (available by selecting ‘Make a complaint in relation to employment rights’ on workplacerelations.ie).
On 6 July 2012 the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation published a policy document detailing his proposed legislative provisions for a new workplace relations service. A Workplace Relations Commission will bring together the existing services of the Labour Relations Commission, Rights Commissioner Service, Equality Tribunal, the National Employment Rights Authority and the first instance functions of the Employment Appeals Tribunal. The Labour Court will be the single appeal body for all workplace relations appeals, including those currently heard by the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
The Labour Inspectorate was originally set up to enforce Employment Regulation Orders and Registered Employment Agreements under the Industrial Relations Acts 1946 – 2001. This is still forms a major part of the enforcement activity of the NERA inspection services and this role is carried out together with the Labour Court.
Since 2007 the number of NERA inspectors has more than doubled and they are now empowered to work with and exchange information with the Department of Social Protection and the Revenue Commissioners in Joint Investigation Units.
NERA inspectors have carried out inspection campaigns focused on the construction sector, the catering and security industries and on the legislation on minimum wage and the protection of young people in employment. You can read this guide to inspections.
The Inspection Services also have an enforcement role in relation to:
The Inspection Services have another function, which is to inspect and gather information for others in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in relation to the following Acts:
and on behalf of the Department of Justice and Equality
Inspectors may enter premises at reasonable times, interview employers and employees, take statements, examine and take copies of records and initiate legal proceedings.
Inspections are carried out either to investigate a specific complaint or a team of inspectors may carry out random or targeted inspections in a particular sector of employment.
Generally the investigation proceeds in three stages as follows:
The exception to the above procedures occurs where breaches of the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996 are found. These are referred for prosecution after a first inspection.
If you wish to make a complaint in relation to the employment legislation outlined above you must use the new online complaint form (available by selecting ‘Make a complaint in relation to employment rights’ on workplacerelations.ie). You can also contact Workplace Relations Customer Services - see 'Where to apply' below.
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Opening Hours: Mon. to Fri. 9.30am to 5pm
Tel: (059) 917 8990
Locall: 1890 80 80 90
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.