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Know Your Rights March

Bullying at work                                                                                                                                                11.3.21

I think I’m being bullied by my boss at work. What exactly is bullying and what protections do I have?

Bullying is defined as repeated inappropriate behaviour direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could be reasonably regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work.

Bullying can take many different forms such as:

  • Social exclusion and isolation
  • Verbal abuse and insults
  • Being treated less favourably than colleagues in similar roles
  • Belittling a person’s opinion
  • Spreading malicious rumours, gossip or innuendo
  • Intrusion – pestering, spying or stalking
  • Intimidation and aggressive interactions
  • Excessive monitoring of work
  • Withholding information needed for the person to perform their job properly
  • Repeatedly manipulating a person’s job contents and targets
  • Blaming a person for things beyond their control
  • Use of aggressive or obscene language
  • Other menacing behaviour

Your employer has a duty of care for all their employees to prevent bullying. They also have responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2005 (as amended) for the welfare of employees.

A new Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work came into effect on 23 December 2020. Under the Code your employer must:

  • Take reasonable steps to prevent bullying in the workplace
  • Have an anti-bullying policy for dealing with complaints of bullying
  • Develop the anti-bullying policy in consultation with employees
  • Prepare a Safety Statement based on an assessment of the risk of bullying

A summary of your employer’s anti-bullying policy should be displayed within your workplace.

The new code sets out a detailed procedure for dealing with informal and formal complaints. You can read more about how to make a complaint on citizensinformation.ie

Know your rights: Benefits for Carers

I need to take time out from work to care for my father. What supports are available for people in my situation?

There are several supports available to you. To qualify for these supports, the person you are caring for (your father) must need full-time care and attention.

If you are working at present and want to take time off to care for your father, you may be eligible for carer’s leave of up to 2 years. You must have worked for your employer for a continuous period of 12 months to qualify for this leave.

Your employer does not pay you while you are on carer’s leave but you can get credited social insurance contributions to maintain your PRSI record.

You are entitled to annual leave and public holidays for the first 13 weeks of carer’s leave. Your employer cannot dismiss you or victimise you for exercising your right to carer’s leave.

You may also be able to get Carer’s Benefit from the Department of Social Protection, if you have enough PRSI contributions to qualify.

If you do not qualify for Carer’s Benefit, you may qualify for a means-tested Carer’s Allowance. If you get Carer’s Allowance, you may be entitled to a Free Travel Pass. If you live with the person you are caring for, you may also qualify for the Household Benefits Package.

There is also an annual Carer’s Support Grant which is paid to full-time carers in June each year. From June 2021, the grant will increase from €1700 to €1850. Even if you are not getting any other social welfare payment, you can qualify for this grant if you meet the conditions.

You can find more information about support for carers on citizensinformation.ie.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic you can contact your local Citizens Information Centre:

•             Bray CIC on 0761 07 6780 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

•             Email Bray CIC at bray@citinfo.ie – anytime

You can  find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday,
    9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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