Workplace Relations Commission
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was established under the Workplace Relations Act 2015. It is the body to which all industrial relations disputes and all disputes and complaints about employment laws are referred.
The main functions of the WRC are to:
- Promote and maintain good workplace relations
- Promote and encourage compliance with the relevant laws
- Provide guidance around compliance with codes of practice
- Conduct reviews and monitor developments around workplace relations
- Conduct or commission relevant research and report the findings to Joint Labour Committees and Joint Industrial Councils
- Advise the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment 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 advise 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 resolving industrial disputes and implementing employment laws. More information is available in this guide to the Workplace Relations Commission (pdf).
Services operated by the WRC
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.
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, Procedures for addressing Bullying in the Workplace, and the new Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect (pdf).
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.
A WRC Industrial Relations Officer acts as chairperson during meetings to negotiate an agreement. The majority of the cases referred to conciliation are settled. If no agreement is reached, the parties can refer the dispute to the Labour Court.
Mediation is a voluntary process which needs agreement from both parties to participate and to work towards resolving the problem. It makes sure 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 try to resolve 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 or dispute is not resolved, it will be referred for adjudication. Find out more 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 to the adjudication service.
Internal workplace issues
The Workplace Mediation Service aims to resolve workplace disputes and disagreements, particularly between individuals or small groups.The service is provided by officers of the WRC Conciliation and Advisory Services. This is a confidential service, which gives employees and employers who are in dispute an opportunity to work with a mediator to find a mutually agreed solution. Problems referred to this service include breakdown in a working relationship or issues arising from a grievance and disciplinary procedure.
The Adjudication 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 their decision making and have a wide range of functions under this employment legislation.
Recent procedural changes
Following a Supreme Court judgment, the law covering certain WRC procedures has been updated. The changes impact adjudication hearings and are effective from 29 July 2021.
You can find more information about adjudication of employment rights and disputes.
The Inspection Services monitor employment conditions to ensure employers comply with employment rights legislation. The service is also responsible for enforcement of breaches.
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 about 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 want to bring an employment rights claim you apply using the WRC the online complaint form.
Mediation: You can apply for mediation using the WRC online mediation referral form.
Advisory Service: For further information or help you can contact the Advisory Service of the WRC at the address below or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conciliation Service: You can make a referral Requests for assistance and enquiries should be sent in writing to the Conciliation Service of the WRC at the orkplace Relations Commission at the address below or by using the WRC conciliation referral form.
Where to apply