Minister Breen announces review of Codes of Practice on Bullying in the Workplace

 17th January 2018

Mr. Pat Breen, T.D., Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection announced that he has asked the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) to undertake a review of their Codes of Practice on Bullying in the Workplace. The WRC Code dates from 2002 and the HSA Code has been in place since 2007.

The Minister said “It is timely to have a review carried out and I have asked the WRC and the HSA to work together to examine the possibility of developing a single Code of Practice for Bullying in the Workplace”.

The Minister’s initiative comes about as a result of evolving case law in this area that has brought these issues to the fore.  He said “It is crucial that best practice in relation to bullying in the workplace is adhered to and regularly revisited and I want to take whatever steps I can in this important area insofar as the bodies for which I have policy responsibility are concerned”.

The announcement of the review of the Code on Bullying follows the recent enactment by the Minister of a new Code of Practice on Longer Working. This Code facilitated by the WRC, was developed in consultation with the social partners Ibec and ICTU as well as the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Human Rights and Equality Commission.  

Revision of this Code came about as a result of a recommendation from an Inter departmental Group established in 2016 to consider policy around retirement age in both the public and private sectors.  The Minister said “At a time when issues around retirement age in both the public and private sector are very topical, it is very timely to introduce a new Code of Practice to act as a guide to employers and employees”.

The Code sets out guidance and best practice for employers, employees and their representatives to follow during the engagement between employers and employees in the run up to retirement.  It also considers the issue of responding to requests to work beyond the current retirement age in the employment concerned.

This development comes about in the positive context of people living longer and healthier lives. The Code will support employers and employees in the private sector in reaching mutually beneficial arrangements around retirement ages. 

The Order giving effect to this Code of Practice came into effect on 20 December 2017 and is accessible at SI No 600 of 2017 Industrial Relations Act 1990 (Code of Practice on Longer Working) (Declaration) Order 2017