INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
SOUTHERN HEALTH BOARD
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Brennan
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Compensation for loss of premia payments.
2. The worker concerned is employed by the Board as a ward attendant at the Listowel District Hospital.
In August, 1992 she was granted a 3 year career-break. She returned to work in August, 1995. Prior to her career-break she operated on days/nights and weekends for which she received premium payments. When she resumed work in August, 1995 she was assigned to day duty. She sought a return to her previous roster but the Board was not able to facilitate her.
The situation in relation to the roster was rectified in August, 1996.
The dispute before the Court concerns the Union's claim on behalf of the worker for compensation for the loss of premium payments following her return to work. Local level discussions took place but agreement could not be reached and the matter was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences took place on the 17th February, 1996 and 12th November, 1996. As agreement could not be reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 22nd January, 1997 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place in Tralee on the 15th April, 1997.
3. 1. The normal practice in cases of leave of absence is that the position is filled by a temporary employee pending the return to work of the person on leave.
2. The dispute arose because the worker concerned was replaced on the roster by another permanent employee. On her return to work she was confined to working days, resulting in a loss of earnings of £2,000. In the circumstances the worker's claim for the loss of earnings is justified.
4. 1. Management did everything possible to resolve the issue but was prevented from doing so by the Union's objection to her inclusion on the roster.
2. Management has operated the career-break scheme in a fair and reasonable way and has done everything possible to facilitate staff and, at the same time, take into account the exigencies of the service.
3. The Board has always maintained its commitment to ensuring that staff, as far as possible, return to the location from which they left with the same rights and conditions. It would create an impossible situation in the operation of the career- break scheme if the Board was to find itself with a liability to pay alleged loss of earnings to any worker affected by the operation of the scheme.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
The Court is satisfied that the management did all it could to try to reach an accommodation under its commitment for Career Breaks.
Having considered all the aspects of the case the Court does not recommend payment of compensation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th June, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.