The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has launched a strategy statement in light of what it describes as a challenging economic, social and statutory environment.
‘Meeting Stakeholder Expectations in a Changing World of Work’ pledges service delivery that will mix remote and on-premises working in the future.
The WRC is currently scheduling significantly more adjudication hearings, mainly remotely, than before the pandemic — currently about 30% to 40% more hearings are being scheduled than pre-virus.
There will also be more focus on self-service and automation in the future.
Damian English (Minister for Business, Employment and Retail) said this morning (16 December) that how and where people work has changed over the past 20 months, and working from home has become the norm for many.
“Remote, blended and flexible working arrangements will form a much bigger part of life in the years ahead, alongside our more traditional and established working practices,” he said.
The WRC will adapt to meet the needs for timely, consistent, robust and independent services, he added.
“This strategy lays out the targets and objectives which the WRC will deliver on over the period to 2024 to meet these needs,” the minister said.
WRC chair Dr David Begg said: "In an era of radical uncertainty, it is appropriate that the statement of strategy has a focus on resilience and continuity, continuous improvement and assisting adaptability in order to meet our own objective of providing a world-class service to our stakeholders."
Director general Liam Kelly said that the pandemic not only has had a profound effect on people’s lives, but has also had a short to medium-term impact on the world, which has prompted policy and business responses.
“The WRC adjudication, mediation and conciliation work is predominantly provided remotely,” he said.
“The strategy identifies the ability to deliver services efficiently and effectively and very much depends on the WRC utilising to the full the opportunities provided by technological advances but, at the same time, the WRC will focus on the outcomes for parties, and their service expectations are of primary concern,” he said.
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was established in October 2015 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 legislation,
Provide information to the public in relation to employment laws other than the Employment Equality Act.