Joint Labour Committees
Joint Labour Committees regulate conditions of employment and set minimum rates of pay for employees in certain sectors, by means of Employment Regulation Orders (EROs).
A Joint Labour Committee (JLC) is established by a statutory order of the Labour Court under the Industrial Relations Act 1946. It is an independent body made up of equal numbers of employer and worker representatives appointed by the Labour Court, with a chair appointed by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
Any of the following can apply to the Labour Court to set up a JLC:
- The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation
- A trade union
- An organisation claiming to represent the workers or employers involved.
The JLC system
The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2012, which reformed reforming the Joint Labour Committees’ wage-setting mechanisms, came into force on 1 August 2012. The Act provides for the Labour Court to adopt an Employment Regulation Order drawn up by a JLC. The ERO is then given statutory effect by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
The Act's provisions include:
- JLCs have the power to set a basic adult wage rate and 2 additional higher rates
- Companies may seek exemption from paying ERO rates due to financial difficulty
- JLCs no longer set Sunday premium rates. A new statutory Code of Practice on Sunday working is to be prepared by the Workplace Relations Commission
- When setting wage rates JLCs will have to take into account factors such as competitiveness and rates of employment and unemployment
There are EROs for the contract cleaning and security industries – see below.
List of Joint Labour Committees
Joint Labour Committees before July 2011
Previously some employments were covered by agreements made by Joint Labour Committees. Following a High Court decision Employment Regulation Orders ceased to have statutory effect from 7 July 2011.
Employees who were covered by an ERO have existing contracts of employment which govern their pay and conditions of work. If an employer reduces an employee’s rate of pay this would be a change in their contract of employment and normally such changes require the employee’s consent.