The Workplace Relations Commission are actively carrying out audits/inspections of companies, including early years services. Due to the current COVID-related restrictions, these inspections are now taking place online and generally contain two stages. First, employers are now requested to upload a list of required documents through a secure upload facility, generally within a 14 day timeframe. The link to upload the required records, as well as a 'Guide to Inspections' document and other useful links to relevant information (including on GDPR), will be included in the initial email received to the employer.
Stage two involves direct contact via telephone or video conference with the employer following the receipt of the required documents in order to verify them. The approximate date of this engagement is generally outlined in the initial appointment letter attached to initial email to the employer. As per the WRC policy, this engagement may also extend to involve interviewing (via telephone or video conference) of available employees at the proposed time of the inspection, or at a suitable time thereafter within a reasonable period of time to verify the relevant records submitted.
Records may include (but are not exhausted to):
- Employee contracts
- A Completed Employee Details Form (generally attached to the original correspondence issued to the employer (or the employer may provide an alternative listing containing the required information)
- Copies of Employment Permits/Permission to work for Non-EEA Nationals, or evidence that a permit or permission to work is not required (Passport & immigration Stamp/GNIB Card)
- Holiday and public holiday entitlements taken by each employee
- Details of Rest Breaks (Daily, Weekly and at work)
- Copy of Terms of Employment, including procedures for Bullying/Harassment, Grievance and Discipline and procedures for Dismissal
- Register of employees under 18 years of age
- Timesheets demonstrating start and finish times (including weekend work and any overtime)
- Payroll records (payslips demonstrating Gross to Net, Rate of Pay per Hour, Overtime, Deductions, any Premiums and Allowances, Commissions and Bonuses, Service Charges, etc)
Although the majority of inspections are taking place online and through follow-up phone/video consultation, the WRC reserves the right to carry out an on-site inspection. In such cases WRC Inspectors are expected to adhere strictly to all relevant public health advice and to follow the specific safety protocols in place in the company. A COVID-safety visitor’s policy is recommended to ensure the protocols in place are clearly communicated.
As part of the WRC’s Guide to Inspections, you can download the WRC Checklist here.
Tip: Acknowledge receipt of the initial correspondence that will contain the Inspector’s contact details. Use the time provided to you to gather the relevant required documents and ensure you attempt the upload prior to the final day submission is required. This is to ensure you do not run into technical difficulty while working against the clock.
Take the time to read through the Guide to Inspection Document and correspond openly with employees ahead of the proposed follow-up inspection date. This is to ensure that available employees are prepared should they be required to consult with the Inspector as part of stage two (verification of records). Consider distributing the Guide to Inspection piece to the employees who may be required to engage at stage two.
Finally, use the checklist provided and ensure hardcopy documents are within ease of access to assist with stage two.
Remember, an inspection is not an attempt at finding flaws or faults. The notice period granted, and the supporting information provided is to assist employers to meet required compliance. Take the time you require during stage two to access what is required, however preparation is a key part to ensuring a smooth and stress-free inspection.