Most Recent WRCReport Highlights Substantial Inspectorate Increase in Activity in 2023

The WRC Inspectorate carries out workplace inspections to ensure Employer compliance with a range of employment laws. In its recently published Annual Report, the WRC highlighted that the inspection service carried out 4,727 workplace inspections in 2023, up from 3,943 in 2022. The inspections found that 2,221 Employers had contravened employment law. These cases comprised of 6,519 individual workplace inspection visits which uncovered 7,862 specific contraventions of employment legislation.

Employer Compliance with Record Keeping Requirements

One of the key activities of WRC inspectors involves examining the employment records held by Employers. One of the most common compliance issues uncovered by WRC inspections is an Employer’s failure to keep adequate employment records.

Employers should note that while these site visits are typically announced, inspectors also have a right to visit unannounced. In addition, inspectors are legally entitled to enter any workplace to carry out their work and Employers who obstruct or provide misleading information to an inspector may be found guilty of a criminal offence.

The inspection process initially involves the following steps:
• Examination of an Employer’s employment-related books, files and records.
• Interviewing the Employer or Employer representative.
• Interviewing Employees.

Inspectors will continue to engage with the relevant Employer throughout the inspection process and provide the Employer with an opportunity to regularise their position where appropriate.

If an inspector deems it necessary to take enforcement action, compliance action may include redress for Employees concerned in the form of payment of any unpaid wages for instance. The WRC recovered €1,950,601 in unpaid wages in 2023.

In certain circumstances, inspections may also take place in tandem with An Garda Síochána and other regulatory bodies such as officers of the Department of Social Protection and the Revenue Commissioners.

Be Prepared for a WRC Inspection Anytime

The best way to be ready or a WRC inspection is to be prepared for one to take place anytime. As the vast majority of inspections focus on record keeping requirements, Employers should ensure that the following non-exhaustive list of records are available for inspection anytime:
• Employer’s registration number with the Revenue Commissioners
• A list of all Employees: including full names, address and PPS numbers
• Dates of commencement and, if relevant, dates of termination of employments
• Written terms of employment for Employees
• Employees’ job classification
• A record of annual leave and Public Holidays taken by each Employee
• Hours of work for each Employee (including start and finish times)
• Payroll details including gross to net, rate per hour, overtime, deductions, commission, bonuses and service charges, etc.
• Evidence that Employees were provided with payslips
• Employment permits or evidence that an employment permit is not required as appropriate for non-EEA nationals

Eliminate Employment Law Compliance Risks with a HR Audit

Employers have rigorous compliance obligations under a wide range of Irish employment laws and with so many recent developments over the past number of years, it can be a real challenge for Employers to stay on top of their legal obligations. To guard against these employment law compliance risks, Employers should maintain accurate employment records. Compliant Organisations have nothing to fear from a WRC inspection or indeed allegations from disgruntled Employees.

The best way to identify any employment law compliance gaps in your record keeping or employment-related activity is to conduct a HR Audit. This process will involve an examination of all your employment documents including contracts of employment and Employee Handbooks. HR procedures like probation periods and performance management processes will also be reviewed to ensure compliance with Employer-side legal obligations. And to ensure compliance with record-keeping requirements, a full audit of employment-related records as required by statute will ensure that any gaps are identified and your Organisation will be ready when a WRC inspector calls.


Adare is a team of expert-led Employment Law, Industrial Relations and best practice Human Resource Management consultants. If your Organisation needs advice, support, or guidance about compliance requirements or any HR issues, please check for details HERE or contact Adare by calling (01) 561 3594 or emailing to learn what services are available to support your business.