INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
MOUNT CONGREVE ESTATE
(REPRESENTED BY RONAN DALY JERMYN SOLICITORS)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Sick pay scheme. - Loss of waiting days.
2. Mount Congreve Estate is located in Kilmeaden, County Waterford. The Estate employs approximately 86 people.
The Union is claiming that, since the Agricultural Workers Joint Labour Committee (JLC) introduced a sick pay scheme in 1998, workers conditions of employment have worsened. In January, 1996, the sick pay scheme entitled staff 10 days sick leave with the first two days of any absence uncertified and paid for. In 1998, the JLC sick pay scheme increased the number of sick days to 15 but no payment was to be made in respect of the first 3 days of absence and a doctors certificate must be submitted by the third day of the absence. The main loss to the employees is that under the JLC sick pay scheme no payment is made for the first 3 days of any absence. The Union claims that the employment regulation order has worsened the conditions of employment for its members.
Management claims that it has complied with the 1998 Agriculture Workers JLC Sick Pay Scheme. As no agreement was reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held on 5th July, 2000 and 13th
September, 2000 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 25 April, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing was held on the 12th June, 2001.
3. 1. Following the introduction of the Agricultural Workers Joint Labour Committee sick pay scheme in 1998, the conditions of employment for employees have worsened. 2. The majority of sick leave taken by employees is usually of 2/3 days duration. This is due to the nature of the work.
3. The spirit of the Employment Regulation Order was to improve the Sick Pay Scheme not to worsen it.
4. 1. The new Sick Pay Scheme provides for an increase in paid sick leave from 10 to 15 days which complies with the new employment regulations.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties. The Employer argued that he has applied the agricultural workers Joint Labour Committee Sick Pay Scheme.
He further states that while this results in the claimants not now being paid for the first three days of sick leave, they are receiving 15 days sick pay as against 10 days. The Union argument is that the application of the JLC agreement should not worsen their conditions.
The Court accepts that the employer would be in breach of the JLC if he reverted to 10 days sick allowance.
Taking into account all the issues involved the Court finds that the employers approach is reasonable in these circumstances, and therefore rejects the claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st June, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Marian O'Connell, Court Secretary.