INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGrath
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Walsh
1. Appeal by the Union against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation No. ST395/95.
2. The Company produces carburettors for two-stroke engines and employs 193 workers. The appeal concerns a worker who sought 3 days compassionate leave because of a family bereavement. She was on Maternity Leave from 1st August to 1st November, 1994 and the bereavement occurred on the 10th September. The worker did not claim the 3 days leave at the time because she was on maternity leave. However, she subsequently claimed the 3 days after learning that two other workers in the Company were paid compassionate leave although, at the time of their respective bereavements, these workers were on annual leave. The Union claimed that the worker concerned should be treated in similar fashion. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On the 16th September 1996 the Rights Commissioner issued his recommendation as follows:
"I recommend that the Union accepts that the worker is not entitled to paid compassionate leave in respect of September, 1994".
(The worker was named in the Rights Commissioner's recommendation).
On the 11th October, 1996 the Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court. The Court heard the appeal in Tralee on the 20th February, 1997.
3. 1. The worker suffered a significant loss because of the death of an immediate relative. It was equally traumatic to the loss sustained by the two workers who were paid compassionate leave. The worker is entitled to be treated in the same manner as those two workers.
2. Unlike other employments (details to the Court), the Company/Union agreement is very straight forward and specifically provides for 3 days compassionate leave on the death of an immediate relative. The Company should pay the worker three day's pay and afford her the same treatment as others in the employment.
4. 1. The Company/Union agreement provides for paid compassionate leave "at the regular basic pay rate of the individual on a normal working day". It is clearly a facility to allow a worker attend the funeral of a close relative without losing a day's pay. The claimant, at the time, was in receipt of social welfare and was not receiving an ongoing payment from the Company. Her situation did not give rise to a loss. To pay the equivalent of compassionate leave in this instance would be contrary to general practice.
2. Compassionate leave is applicable in an attendance at work situation and does not arise otherwise. To regard it specifically as payment to be claimed would not be appropriate. This is particularly the case in circumstances where it is being claimed as a payment many months after the bereavement occurred.
3. The two cases cited related to workers who, in both cases, were in receipt of payment for annual leave by the Company. In these circumstances employees' entitlements to quality paid holiday time under the Holidays (Employees) Act 1973 were adversely affected by the bereavement. As such they bear no relationship to this claim.
The Court in the light of the views expressed by the parties in their oral and written submissions decides that the employee here concerned be paid three days pay at the maternity rate applicable to her during her maternity leave.
The Rights Commissioner's recommendation to be amended accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
4th March, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.