INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
WATERFORD PROBATION HOSTEL
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Terms Of Sick Pay Scheme
2. The Waterford Probation Hostel provides residential accommodation for youths serving probation. It is funded directly from the Probation and Welfare Service, a unit of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. It is managed by a voluntary committee and employs 10 people plus 3 relief staff.
The dispute concerns the Union's claim for the introduction of a sick pay scheme. It is seeking 12 weeks' sick pay in any 12 month period and 6 months' sick pay in circumstances where employees have established an exceptional attendance record and have suffered a serious sickness or injury.
Until recently sick pay has been paid by the employer but there has been no formal arrangement in relation to sick pay. In April, 1999, an employee was paid 12 weeks' sick pay before payments were suspended. At that time management put forward its position outlining future sick pay entitlements of 4 weeks' pay less Social Welfare Benefit and 4 weeks' half pay less Social Benefit. Management argues that the Probation and Welfare Service will only fund payment for 4 weeks' full pay and 4 weeks' half pay. The Union's claim originally was for 6 months' full pay and 6 months' half pay.
The matter was the subject of a conciliation conference held under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement could not be reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 21st of October, 1999 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place in Waterford on the 2nd of March, 2000.
3. 1. Management's offer is derisory when compared to an agreement reached under the terms of the PCW for non-nursing and general operatives employed in the Health and Local Services Authority where in exceptional circumstances an individual can avail of six months' full pay in any year based on a review of the employee's record.
2. The staff of the Waterford Probation Hostel are an extremely dedicated group who demonstrate respect, affection and professionalism towards those in their care. The Union is seeking sick leave entitlements that apply to other such categories of workers employed in similar agencies to the Waterford Probation Hostel.
4. 1. All probationary hostels grant aided by the Probation and Welfare Service, operate autonomous sick pay schemes. The sick pay scheme operated in Waterford is by far the most generous. Any further increases in the sick pay scheme would have regional if not national knock-on effects.
2. The current budget of the residence is running at a loss as a consequence of its sick payments. Any further increases in the sick pay allowance could not be afforded. Furthermore, they would need to be authorised by the Probation and Welfare Service. In the circumstances the Court is requested to uphold the employer's position.
The claim is for an increase in the terms of the sick pay scheme offered to the Union. The Hostel has offered to pay four weeks' sick pay of full pay less Social Welfare followed by four weeks' half pay less Social Welfare.
The Court recommends that this offer should be increased to six weeks full pay less Social Welfare followed by six weeks half pay less Social Welfare. The Court also recommends that an extension of paid sick leave to six months full pay in any year in cases where an employee has established an excellent attendance record over a number of years but who becomes incapacitated as a result of serious illness or injury. The wording of this provision should be as per LRC letter 2nd September, 1998 to HSEA (appendix 1 of union submission) which applies to non-nursing, general operative and related grades.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27 March, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.