The Workplace Relations Commission has issued new guidance for oral/face to face hearings to ensure these are conducted in line with public health guidance – physical distancing and hygiene protocols.
The Guidance Note is to assist parties when visiting the WRC premises while COVID - 19 measures are in place and parties should familiarise themselves with this Note in addition to any specific additional guidance on the WRC website or on-site signage.
Starting times are staggered to reduce the possibility of congestion at the venue on any hearing day. Each hearing will be allocated a time slot of 2.5 hours in duration, regardless of location. The WRC is of the view that most hearings can be disposed of or significantly progressed within the time allowed. If the case is not disposed of on the day, the Adjudication Officer will adjourn the matter and arrange for it to be relisted at the earliest opportunity.
Parties and representatives must provide any submission/documentation immediately upon request and in good time before the hearing date. These are requested when the acknowledgement letter issues giving parties 21 days from the date of that letter to send in the submission, or where parties have engaged in mediation then within 10 days of the conclusion of the mediation process. Parties should copy all documentation to the other side at the same time when sending it to the WRC.
As the WRC needs to limit the number of visitors on the premises to ensure that social distancing can be fully observed, each party should not consist of more than three persons, to include the named party, representative(s) and/or witnesses. Parties who arrive with more than three persons will not be permitted to enter the Hearing Room and, in the absence of such co-operation, the hearing may be postponed at the discretion of the Adjudication Officer. Where additional witnesses are required, they should remain in the immediate vicinity outside the building until called. The lead representative on each side must have the means to communicate with that witness to enter the WRC hearing room at the appropriate time.
For queries or support in relation to representation at the WRC or Labour Court, contact the experienced team at Adare Human Resource Management – email@example.com.