INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ROYAL HOSPITAL, DONNYBROOK
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH NURSES' ORGANISATION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Paid sick leave entitlement.
2. The dispute concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of one of its members in relation to paid sick leave entitlements. The worker commenced employment in a temporary capacity in July, 1991. She was subsequently given a part-time permanent contract in April, 1992. Her contract stipulated that she would not be paid during absence on sick leave.
In December, 1992 the Department of Health issued a new Directive relating to the conditions of part-time nurses. The hospital now allows the worker paid sick leave entitlements by reference to that Directive, pro rata to the equivalent full-time grade of the same PRSI class. This qualifies the worker for up to twelve weeks paid sick leave in a 12 month period.
The Union claims that the worker, because she was appointed as a permanent part-time worker should have the same paid sick leave entitlement as permanent nurses, in line with the provisions of Department of Health circular 10/1971 (i.e. 365 days over 4 years, 6 months at full pay, 6 months at half pay).
Management rejects the Union's claim and states that circular 10/1971 relates only to full-time permanent officers in Health Board Hospitals, and that prior to the negotiations which led to the 1992 Directive, there were no provisions for paid sick leave for part-time nurses whether permanent or temporary in either Health Board or Voluntary Hospitals. (The Royal is a voluntary hospital).
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 30th September, 1997 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was
referred to the Labour Court under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 22nd of January, 1998.
3. 1. The contract given to the worker in 1992 was permanent in every respect except for eligibility to the superannuation scheme as operated by the hospital.
2. The worker is of the view that when she signed the contract of employment in 1992 that it was permanent employment with the consequential benefits.
3. The Court is asked to note that the conditions of employment for Officer Grades in the Voluntary Hospitals such as the Royal Hospital, is the same in the Health Board sector in almost every respect.
4. Management should concede the claim. The worker has suffered stress and financial loss in having to pursue this claim.
4. 1. The contract of employment accepted by the worker in June, 1992 specified that the employment was part-time, permanent, and that the worker would not be paid during absence on sick leave.
2. In December, 1992, the Department of Health issued directions relating to part-time nurses. It provided for sick leave payment to be paid for twelve weeks within a twelve months "rolling" period. The hospital has complied with these instructions.
3. The benefits applicable to staff members differ for whole-time and part-time employees and are applied as appropriate.
4. Payment while on sick leave has been made to the worker subject to the terms of the agreement for part-time nurses.
The Court is satisfied that the contract as entered into by the claimant has been correctly applied by the employers and that it would not be appropriate for the Court to change its terms.
The claim accordingly fails.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd February, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.