INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
SOUTH EASTERN HEALTH BOARD
(REPRESENTED BY THE HEALTH SERVICES EMPLOYERS' AGENCY))
- AND -
MS. MARY P. REDMOND
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Dispute concerning rate of pay, conditions of employment and other issues.
2. The worker has been employed as a home help by the Board (Wexford Community Care area) since 1972. She was recruited to the so-called "good neighbour home help service". The majority of home helps (1,196) who operate within this service provide services to 2 or so clients and are described as part-time home helps. The Board employs a small number of wholetime home helps (4) whose employment contract and status falls into the realm of conventional employment and whose terms and conditions reflect this. The remuneration and conditions of part-time home helps reflect the voluntary or "good neighbour" ethos of the service. For a number of years the worker has been providing services to 4 or 5 clients per week. She is seeking the same terms and conditions enjoyed by wholetime home helps (including pay, conditions and benefits, holidays pensions and car mileage expenses). Her present rate of pay amounts to £2 per hour whereas wholetime home helps are on a rate of £5.60 per hour (as of 1/1/97). The worker's claim was rejected by the Board and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court, on the 7th of November, 1997, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969.
3. 1. The Board has denied the worker her proper rate of pay and entitlements for 26 years and has withheld wages and entitlements knowing they were due under existing agreement within the Board and in accordance with her rights and natural justice.
2. The worker was never in the category described as "good neighbourly" whereby she might merely "drop in for a chat and a cup of tea". She was obliged, in fact, to work upwards of 39 hours per week. She was also required to drive considerable distances to provide services to her clients.
4. 1. The worker was recruited to provide services to what has traditionally been referred to as the "good neighbour" home help service. Home helps who operate in the service are described as part-time, as the vast majority of them provide services to one or, at most, two clients. Arrangements with regard to the number of clients, and the taking of any particular client, are agreed mutually between the home help and the home help organiser.
2. The worker's arrangements with regard to 4 or 5 clients and a consequential whole time commitment do not constitute a basis for establishing an entitlement to contractual pay rates and conditions which apply to a small group who were recruited to and operate on a totally different basis to the generality of home helps.
The Court has given careful consideration to the submissions and arguments made by the parties to the dispute. The Court is satisfied that the claimant has a valid claim in some respects. However, it is equally valid for the Board to argue that her recruitment was not done in the same manner as that of the wholetime home helps. Her case, accordingly, fails on this ground. Nonetheless, it must be accepted that the claimant provides a valuable service and has, over a number of years, workedde factowholetime.
The Court understands that a review of the home help service is currently taking place. The Court recommends that in the context of the outcome of that review the claimant's rate of pay and conditions be addressed
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
11th of March, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.