INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
BROTHERS OF CHARITY SERVICES
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Dispute concerning sick leave/annual leave entitlements.
2. The Brothers of Charity Organisation is a religious voluntary organisation which provides a wide range of residential and day care services for the mentally handicapped at its Bawnmore Centre, Limerick. The dispute relates to the reduction in the annual leave entitlement of a night nurse who has twenty three years service, and arises from absence due to illness. The nurse concerned has an annual leave entitlement of 31 nights. She was absence due to illness from the 13th of June, 1996 to 6th of January, 1997. She received full pay to November, 1996 and half pay to the 5th of January, 1997. This resulted in her annual leave allocation for 1996 being reduced to nine nights. No leave entitlement was granted for the period of long-term illness. The Union claims that paid sick leave is regarded as service for the purpose of calculating annual leave by the Health Boards and should also apply to the worker in the Brothers of Charity Organisation. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 3rd of September, 1997. Agreement was not possible and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 21st of October, 1997. A Labour Court hearing was held in Limerick on the 17th of February, 1998.
3. 1. The nurses employed at the centre are paid the same rates, enjoy the same conditions of employment and are governed by the recent proposals on the pay and conditions of public sector nurses. They also have the same annual leave entitlement as their public sector colleagues except that annual leave is deducted following a period of sick leave.
2. This deduction is in contravention of Department of Health Circular 10/71 of August, 1987 which states "the position regarding a permanent officer who has been absent on sick leave is that he/she retains full annual leave entitlement". The Health Board confirms that sick leave is regarded as service for the purpose of calculating annual leave. This means that only periods of sick leave without pay are taken into account in determining if deductions should be made from annual leave.
3. The practice of deducting annual leave from workers following a period of sick leave is unjust and should be eliminated.
4. 1. The Brothers of Charity is entirely independent from Health Boards in the operation of its services and in the use of funds which it receives from the Department of Health.
2. While the Organisation pays the consolidated rates of pay as set down by the Department in respect of nurses, this does not imply that the same terms and conditions of employment should apply to both the Brothers of Charity and the Health Boards.
3. While the Organisation, together with other voluntary organisations, receives funding from the Department of Health it is clearly the Department's policy that it is for each voluntary agency concerned to decide how funds should be spent.
4. The Organisation in calculating annual leave entitlements has strictly adhered to the relevant legislation. In accordance with the legislation the worker's annual leave entitlement was calculated on the basis of hours physically worked by her.
5. Any concession of the claim would have repercussive effects and have widespread cost implications across the private voluntary sector.
6. The claim is cost-increasing and precluded by Clause 6 of Partnership 2000.
Having considered the written and oral submissions of the parties, the Court recommends that the Union's claim be conceded in this case.
The Court wishes to make it clear that as this claim was brought on behalf of one individual claimant, it does not intend its recommendation to have any broader application.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th March, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.