* To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on concerns raised that the introduction of the €50 fee to access the Workplace Relations Service might act as a barrier to those employees, of limited means, who have genuine grievances and reasons for accessing the new service.
I am considering the issue of whether a fee for making a complaint or appeal to the new Workplace Relations bodies, which will be established as part of the reform process, should be introduced. However, I have made no decision in this regard yet. I recently published a Blueprint which sets out, in considerable detail, how reform of the workplace relations structures and processes will be achieved. The document also provided a further opportunity for interested parties to contribute comments and feedback on the future design and operation of the State’s workplace relations structures including whether or not a charge should be introduced.
I indicated in the Blueprint that any fee introduced would be a modest administration fee somewhere in the region of €50. It would be configured in such a way as to encourage early resolution. For example one possibility would be that no fee would apply for the Early Resolution Service with the fee only being charged when a case progresses to a hearing. In addition any fee would likely take into account the considerable additional cost incurred by the state associated with the processing of paper based complaint forms. Therefore the fee may only apply to paper based complaints with a lesser or no fee applying to complaints submitted and processed online.
It is certainly not my intention that any fee introduced would act as a barrier to those employees, of limited means, who have genuine grievances and who wish to vindicate their rights under equality or employment legislation. I will be examining carefully the suggestions made and advice received on the issue of fees in response to the Blueprint document.