INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Honouring of Agreement re: Home Helps 2000.
2. In August 2000, the National Home Helps pay agreement was entered into between the HSEA on behalf of the Health Service Employers and IMPACT, SIPTU and TGWU. The agreement dealt with a range of issues including travel. As part of the new deal a banding system was brought in for travel expenses.
At the instigation of SIPTU an exceptional clause was inserted into the Agreement which provided for existing arrangements continuing in such areas as the North West, where the Home Support Workers up to that time, had enjoyed better conditions of service relative to other regions.
The dispute before the Court concerns the interpretation of the "exceptional" clause in the agreement and how it should apply to the Worker concerned.
The Union, on behalf of the Worker, are seeking the retention of the practice, which had existed since 1996 up until the introduction of the Agreement in 2000, whereby the Worker claimed travel expenses from the nearest Health Centre to her first client.
The issue could not be resolved at local level. The Union referred the claim to the Labour Court on the 18th May, 2006, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 13th July, 2007, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Union maintain that the special provision in relation to retaining existing conditions on a person to holder basis is unequivocal and spelt out in the Part-time Home Helps Agreement 2000.
2. The Union contend that the Worker is entitled to claim travel expenses from her base in Mohill to her first client and has incurred extensive loss since the introduction of this change.
3. The Union further contend that the imposition of the new arrangement constitutes a breach of the Agreement of August 2000.
4 1. The Worker does not start or finish her employment from Mohill Health Centre and has no work purpose there.
2. The National Agreement specified that "mileage will not be payable for travel to the first visit and from the last visit". This arrangement reflects the principle as applied by the Revenue Commissioners that travel from home to work and from work to home is not reckonable in an employers travel expense scheme.
3. It is the Employer's contention that it is acting in accordance with the provisions of the national agreement, which overtook the prior local arrangement. The prior local arrangement is not consistent with the tax code particularly the provisions of the 2004 Finance Act.
The claim before the Court concerns a dispute over the Worker’s entitlement to travel expenses. The Union on behalf of the Worker who is employed as a Home Support Worker sought application of “the exceptional clause” in the national “Part-Time Home Helps Agreement 2000”, which states“where part-time Home Helps currently travel in line with normal practice, they will retain this arrangements on a personal to holder basis.”A dispute arose between the parties as to the interpretation of this clause in the case of the Worker before the Court.
Having considered the submissions made and examined the clause, the Court is of the view that it provided for those workers who were currently paid in accordance with the conditions laid down for travel expenses under the Department of Finance, Travelling and Subsistence Regulations Circular 11/82, which is based on rates per mile.
The HSE West disputed the Union’s contention that the Worker was entitled to claim from a notional base, the Court is of the view that Circular 11/82, does not provide for travel expenses to be claimed from a notional base.
Accordingly, the Court upholds Management’s position on the claim before the Court.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th August, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.