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In 2020, many business owners and managers have found themselves having to make decisions they never thought they’d have to make. Successful and growing businesses suddenly had to hit the Pause button.

For many, positive plans in January were replaced by plans to just get through the year. Sadly, part of that may entail looking at 2021 with a leaner workforce or reduced opportunity for staff, or in some cases making the difficult decision not to continue trading.

Making such decisions will not be easy and will require careful thought and planning to ensure they are made within existing employment legislation parameters and do not cause more issues than they solve.

Your Commercial Legal Protection policy provides policyholders with the valuable resource of a Legal Advice Helpline which allows them to get expert legal advice on any decisions they need to make regarding making changes in the business.

Use the Helpline to ensure any decision made will not result in grounds for a case being brought to the Workplace Relations Commission. If a staff member does lodge a claim with the WRC, an ARAG Commercial Legal Protection policy provides policyholders with cover to defend that claim, so they don’t have to worry about potential legal costs on top of everything else.

Did you know?

The average costs of defending a claim (actual fees/costs may be higher depending on seniority of solicitor and complexity of case):

  • Solicitor Fees: 15 hours @€250 per hour = €3,750
  • Barrister fee: €1,500 - €2,000 plus refresher fee if second day.
  • Consultation Fee & Drafting Fee: Approximately €300 each

According to the 2019 WRC annual report there were 8,309 complaint applications, comprising 20,939 specific complaints received by the WRC, with just over 5,000 adjudication hearings and 3,029 adjudication decisions issued.

Notable awards in the year included €100,000 awarded in an age discrimination case and €94,000 in a sexual harassment case*.

Whilst the WRC has moved to remote hearings during the lockdown periods in 2020 they are continuing to deal with complaints and employers are still finding themselves the subject of these complaints. Seeking and following advice to deal appropriately with workplace situations can minimise the risk of such a complaint being lodged against your business.

On a more positive note, the economy has seen a 17.46% increase in company and business start-ups at the end of the third quarter, compared to 2019**. Setting up a business combines many strands, so access to Legal Advice is also an advantageous benefit of a legal expenses policy in that regard. Dealing with start-up employment matters correctly is just as important as at any other time if the business wishes to avoid a WRC hearing.

Employment Cover is just one of the many benefits of an ARAG Commercial Legal Protection policy. For further details or information on any of our policies please contact your ARAG account manager

*Workplace Relations Commission Annual Report 2019 2019 WRC Annual Report
** Vision Net business barometer 3rd Qtr report 2020 Vision Net Barometer 3rd Qtr 2020

Please contact your ARAG Account Manager for further information on all Legal Expenses policies.

Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.