Workplace Relations Commission
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was established on 1 October 2015 under the Workplace Relations Act 2015. It took over the functions of the National Employment Rights Authority, the Labour Relations Commission and the Director of the Equality Tribunal. It also took over some of the functions of the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT). However, the appeal functions of the EAT were transferred to the Labour Court, which is now the single appeal body for all workplace relations appeals.
The main functions of the WRC are to:
- Promote the improvement of workplace relations, and maintenance of good workplace relations
- Promote and encourage compliance with the relevant laws
- Provide guidance in relation to compliance with codes of practice
- Conduct reviews of, and monitor developments as respects, workplace relations
- Conduct or commission relevant research and provide advice, information and the findings of research to Joint Labour Committees and Joint Industrial Councils
- Advise the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation in relation to the application of, and compliance with, relevant laws
- Provide information to the public in relation to employment laws other than the Employment Equality Act (information about this Act is provided by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission)
The WRC may also provide advice on any matter relating to workplace relations to employers, their representative bodies and to employees, trade unions or other representative bodies of employees. It has specific functions in relation to the resolution of industrial disputes and the implementation of employment laws. It is the body to which all industrial relations disputes and all disputes and complaints about employment laws will be presented. More information is available in this guide to the Workplace Relations Commission (pdf).
The WRC operates the following services:
The Advisory Service provides advice and assistance on industrial relations in the workplace to employers, employees and their representatives. It helps employers and employees to develop positive working relationships and mechanisms to solve problems. One of its services is preventative mediation, advising on grievance procedures and structural change. The WRC has also published codes of practice including Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures and Procedures for addressing Bullying in the Workplace. You can read more in this list of frequently asked questions about the Advisory Service.
The Conciliation Service helps employers and their employees to resolve disputes when they have failed to reach agreement during their own previous negotiations. An Industrial Relations Officer of the Commission acts as chairperson during meetings to negotiate an agreement. The majority of the cases referred to conciliation are settled. If no agreement is reached then, if the parties wish, the dispute may be referred to the Labour Court.
Mediation is a voluntary process which needs to have both sides agreeing to participate and to work towards resolving the problem. It ensures that all the sides are heard and the participants are involved in finding an agreed solution.
Employment rights issues: The WRC may offer a mediation service to facilitate the resolution of employment rights complaints or disputes without the use of adjudication. They may only be referred for mediation with the agreement of both parties to the complaint or dispute. Where a complaint/dispute is not resolved, it will be referred for adjudication. Find out more in our document about workplace mediation.
If you have made a complaint about your employment rights and you have agreed to participate in mediation you may be offered the Early Resolution Service (ERS) which is part of the Mediation Service. The ERS contacts the parties to the dispute by phone with the aim of mediating a resolution. If the dispute is not resolved by the service, your complaint will be sent without any delay to the adjudication service.
Internal workplace issues: The Workplace Mediation Service aims to resolve workplace disputes and disagreements, particularly between individuals or small groups. This confidential service, which is provided by officers of the WRC Conciliation and Advisory Services, gives employees and employers who are in dispute with each other an opportunity to work with a mediator to find a mutually agreed solution to problems, such as breakdown in a working relationship or issues arising from a grievance and disciplinary procedure.
The Adjudication Service (formerly the Rights Commissioner Service) investigates disputes, grievances and claims that individuals or small groups of workers make under the employment legislation listed in Schedule 5 of the Workplace Relations Act. Adjudicators are independent in the performance of their duties and have a wide range of functions under this employment legislation . You can find more information in our document on adjudication of employment rights and disputes.
The Inspection Services (formerly operated by NERA) monitor employment conditions to ensure the compliance and enforcement of employment rights legislation. They also carry out inspections and gather information in relation to other employment laws. For example, employees or interested parties may ask for an inspection in relation to the protection of young people in employment. You can read more in our document on employment rights legislation inspection and compliance.
Employment rights information
Information on rights and entitlements under employment legislation is provided by WRC Information and Customer Service.
How to apply
Employment rights complaints: If you wish to bring an employment rights claim you apply using the online complaint form available on workplacerelations.ie.
Mediation: You can apply for mediation using the online mediation referral form available on workplacerelations.ie.
Advisory Service: For further information or assistance you can contact the Advisory Service of the Workplace Relations Commission at the address below or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conciliation Service: Requests for assistance and enquiries should be sent in writing to the Conciliation Service of the Workplace Relations Commission at the address below or by using the conciliation referral form available on workplacerelations.ie.
Where to apply