INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
KERRY PARENTS AND FRIENDS OF THE MENTALLY HANDICAPPED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Payment during maternity leave.
2. The Association was established in 1973 and provides day, residential and home support services to more than 200 adults with a learning disability (mental handicap) throughout Co. Kerry. It employs approximately 70 staff.
The Union's claim is for the payment of wages to members who are on maternity leave. The claim was first made on the 30th of April, 1996. It was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a number of conciliation conferences took place. At a conference on the 4th of September, 1996, it was agreed that the Association would consult with the Southern Health Board (SHB) to ascertain if additional funding could be made to meet the Union's claim.
As agreement could not be reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 28th of January, 1999, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 16th of June, 1999, in Tralee, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
1. Staff, both male and female, are paid when on sick leave and it is discriminatory that female staff are not paid when on maternity leave.
2. Staff performing the same type of duties in Health Board hospitals (details supplied to the Court) are paid when on maternity leave.
3. The claim is for basic gross salary less social welfare benefits. As staff would not be receiving premium payments when absent, the cost to management would not be great.
1. The cost to the Association of paying staff on maternity leave for the year, 1996-1998, would have been £25,337. This would have been in addition to the existing cost of replacing staff on maternity leave. The Association cannot afford such a cost.
2. The Association, as a Section 65 agency, is directly funded by the SHB. The funding of Section 65 agencies is currently being reviewed at national level.
3. The Association has accumulated a significant deficit over the last number of years. At the 31st of December, 1998, the cumulative deficit was £845,000.
4. Any concession of the Union's claim would have a knock-on effect across the voluntary sector as a whole.
Having considered the submissions of the parties, the Court notes the serious financial situation of this organisation. The Court is of the view that as the matter of funding of Section 65 Organisations is currently the subject of discussions at national level between the National Association of Voluntary Bodies, the Health Boards and the Government, it is not appropriate for the Court to consider this issue in isolation.
Following the outcome of these discussions, the matter should be reviewed by the parties.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
29th June, 1999.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.