The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) have just published its Annual Report for 2023[1], providing insights into the state of employment claims, highlighting trends, problems, and improvements in the labour market over the past year. With the number of complaints received and adjudication hearings held on the rise, the report acts as a stark reminder of the litany of risks that exist when managing conflicts and disputes in the workplace.

The employment landscape remains challenging for Employers and in the current environment it is essential that pragmatic decisions are being made to limit the risks that may unfold in the future.

The publication of the Workplace Relations Commission 2023 Annual Report comes as a timely reminder of those risks and acts as a cue to ensure Employers are acting in a manner that not only serves the business but also their people.

What we learned from the 2023 Annual WRC Report

Summary of the main key findings

Conducted 6,519 workplace inspection visits, focusing on sectors like fisheries, road transport, construction, agriculture, and the National Minimum Wage. Recovered €1.95 million in unpaid wages from 4,727 completed inspections.

Adjudication hearings and decisions increased significantly, with hearings up by nearly 13% and decisions up by 50% compared to 2022.

Pre-adjudication mediation services saw a 19% increase, with 127 more mediations conducted than in the previous year.

Code of Practice:
Significant progress was made on the Code of Practice on the Right to Request Remote/Flexible Work, which was finalized in early 2024 and published in March 2024.

Conciliation Service:
Maintained high success rates (around 85%) in resolving/preventing high-profile disputes and facilitated key discussions between the Government and Public Sector Trade Unions/Associations.

Digital Strategy:
Developed a new eComplaint Form in line with the “Digital First” pillar of the Public Service ICT Strategy, set to go live in 2024, enabling more efficient complaint submissions across digital platforms.

Information Services:
Assisted over 61,800 callers with employment, equality, or industrial relations queries, a 3% increase from 2022. Website pageviews reached over 4.6 million, up 12%.

Participated in over 40 outreach events, engaging with various stakeholders including trade unions, employer conferences, schools, and Local Enterprise Offices, providing crucial information on WRC services.


A total of 4,727 inspection cases were closed in 2023, with some 2,221 employers found to have contraventions of employment law. These cases involved 6,519 individual workplace inspection visits which uncovered over 7,862 specific contraventions of legislation. While many employers inspected become compliant, a number of employers do not become compliant and are subject enforcement action. Of the one hundred and twenty-five prosecutions that were undertaken in 2023, one hundred and eleven cases resulted in successful outcomes.
In light of the significant number of inspections in 2023, Employers should ensure they are fully compliant in terms of records of information as there exists real financial risks where non-compliance is found.

Adjudication Services

Within the WRC is the Adjudication Service which specifically investigates disputes, grievances, and claims made by individuals and groups under employment, equality, and equal status legislation.

This service reported that during 2023, some 6,172 Complaint Applications were received representing 14,158 individual complaints which is an average of 2 individual/specific complaints per complaint application were received.

Complaints Received

Specific Complaints by Complaint Type

  • 3,662 (26%) related to Pay
  • 1,817 (13%) related to Discrimination, Equality & Equal Status
  • 1,875 (13%) related to Unfair Dismissal
  • 1,222 (10%) related to Terms & Conditions of Employment complaints

Trade Disputes represent 8% (1,104) a decline of 6% compared to last year. The WRC noted a considerable increase in relation to complaints under Schedule 2 of the Protected Disclosure Act, 2014 of 201% compared to 2022.

With the significant number of complaints progressing to a third party it is essential that businesses ensure they embed compliant processes to mitigate the risk of a financial liability. If you need support with HR and Employment Law Practices contact a member of the team at Adare now on 01 561 3594 or to discuss how we can best support you and your team today.