INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
DON BOSCO HOUSE
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Dispute regarding parity of annual leave with Health Board residential care workers.
2. Don Bosco House, which was established in 1978, is a residential care agency for homeless children. It employs twenty-two full-time staff at five locations in Dublin. The Agency is funded mainly by the Eastern Health Board.
The claimant has been employed as a residential care worker at Don Bosco House since April, 1992. He claims that his salary scale, unsocial hours payment, pension scheme, etc, are identical to those of Eastern Health Board care staff but that his annual leave entitlement is only 21 days, while they benefit from 27 days.
The claimant, who was originally represented by IMPACT, referred the issue of parity of annual leave to the Labour Relations Commission in March, 1999. A conciliation conference was held on the 15th of April, 1999, at which agreement was not reached. The issue was referred to the Labour Court but IMPACT later requested the Court not to proceed with a hearing as, in accordance with the Labour Court Recommendation LCR15515, an Expert Review Group was to issue a report on the care worker profession nationally, which would include the issue of annual leave.
On the 13th of June, 1999, the claimant referred the issue directly to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 20 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. He agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. The Court investigated the dispute on the 31st of August, 1999, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. Minimum annual leave is set at 20 days for workers who work at least 1365 hours. The claimant works 2912 hours per annum for only 21 days annual leave.
2. In 1989 annual leave of 27 days was agreed for care staff who are employed directly by the Eastern Health Board. However, because the claimant is employed by a voluntary
agency which is funded by the Eastern Health Board, he receives 6 days less annual leave. This anomaly must be corrected as it is discriminatory and unjust.
3. The Industrial Relations Officer of the Labour Relations Commission suggested that a phasing in of the parity of annual leave might resolve the issue. This would have been acceptable to the claimant.
4. The Labour Court is requested to recommend that the anomaly of annual leave should be settled satisfactorily. A member of the Expert Review Group has confirmed to the claimant that annual leave will not form part of its report.
4. 1. The Agency's daily expenses are met entirely by the Eastern Health Board, which has informed the Agency that it does not have the resources to concede this claim.
2. Concession of the claim, if applied to all staff, would add approximately £13,000 to the annual running costs of the Agency. It is not possible to fund any additional annual leave on the present allocation received. In addition to the direct cost of funding the annual leave, additional indirect costs of recruitment of extra staff to provide cover would also have to be met.
3. The claimant's entitlement of 21 days annual leave is above the statutory minimum, above the national average and compares favourably with similar institutions funded by the Eastern Health Board.
4. IMPACT recognised the difficulties that concession of this claim at local level would pose, and withdrew the claim from the Labour Court. The issue is being processed nationally through the Expert Review Group and it is, therefore, inappropriate to deal with it as an individual claim. It is also a cost increasing claim which is in breach of the current national agreement.
Having considered the submissions of the parties, it seems clear to the Court that consideration of this claim at this time is inappropriate. The Expert Review Group, set up to examine and report on the care worker profession, on a national scale is expected to complete its report at the end of 1999. The Court recommends that this claim should await the outcome of that process. If the issue is not dealt with at the review then the matter can be referred back to the Court for a definitive recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st October, 1999.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.