Teagasc is to change the way it records the working times of its staff after an inspection by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) found non-compliance with working time legislation.

Following an inspection by the WRC at a Teagasc centre, the inspector found that, while Teagasc had timesheet systems, the advisory and research body was not compliant with respect to record keeping of the hours worked by each member of staff.

The systems that Teagasc currently have in place were deemed to be not sufficient for the purpose of complying with the relevant legislation, namely the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.

As a result of that finding by the WRC inspector, Teagasc will introduce working time recording system to “ensure compliance” with legislation, a spokesperson for the organisation told Agriland.

The new system will be more detailed, and will be implemented in the coming months, the spokesperson said.

Teagasc said that it will put in place measures to record exact working times for all staff on each day through a digital recording system.

The system will be used to record exact working times and breaks, according to the organisation.

WRC annual report

Separately, the WRC recovered €35,584 in unpaid wages in the agriculture sector in 2023, according to its annual report which was published yesterday (Monday, May 20).

The report shows that the commission inspected 39 employers in the agriculture sector in 2023, of which 22 were found to be in breach of employment law regulations.

The employers inspected in the sector accounted for 3,237 employees.

The WRC carried out 6,519 workplace inspection visits across all sectors in 2023, but with a strong emphasis on certain sectors, including agriculture, construction, fisheries and road transport.

Also, between September 13 and 20, 2023, a campaign of “Action Days against Labour Exploitation” in the agriculture sector saw WRC inspectors carry out inspections throughout Ireland on employers operating within the agricultural sector, including forestry; fruit and vegetable farms; and livestock farms.

A total of 14 unannounced inspections were undertaken during that period, and nine of the employers inspected had employment law breaches.