INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH NURSES' ORGANISATION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. (1). Sick pay scheme (2.) Pension (3.) Annual leave.
2. This case concerns a dispute between Nazareth House and the Irish Nurses Organisation in relation to the following issues:-
1. Introduction of parity with Public Sector Sick Pay Scheme
2. Introduction of parity with Local Government Pension Scheme
3. Payment of Annual Leave Premia
The Union's position is that it has made several attempts to secure the entitlements for their members in relation to the above claims. Current entitlement to the Sick Pay Scheme is based on three weeks' sick pay per annum with a three day eligibility threshold. This, it is claimed, is at variance with Sick Pay Schemes applicable in the Public Sector. The Union is also seeking the introducton of appropriate pension entitlements applicable to comparable employments. The Union also contends that regular premia such as shift pay should be included in holiday pay as is provided for by the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997. Management's position with regard to the Sick Pay and Pension Schemes issues in that it cannot sustain the costs due to a lack of funding from the Health Service Executive (HSE). In relation to the application of the appropriate premia in the calculation of holiday pay, Management has agreed to apply the agreed formula retrospective to 1st January, 2007.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a Conciliation Conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 10th April, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 8th February, 2007, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The claims for parity with the Public Sector Sick Pay Scheme and Pension Schemes for nurses employed in Nazareth House is a valid claim as there are established links in terms of pay and other conditions of employment.
2. Legislation provides for the inclusion of certain premia in the calculation of holiday pay. It is unacceptable that the Holiday Pay of these workers is calculated on basic pay only.
3. The Health Act 1953, provides for the HSE to contribute to the expenses incurred in terms of providing funding to meet requirements in terms of pensions and sick pay.
4. 1. In terms of the Sick Pay Scheme and Pension Scheme, Management has been unsuccessful in obtaining the additional funding from the HSE.
2. In an attempt to resolve the Holiday Premia issue, Management is prepared to apply the appropriate rates retrospective to 1st January, 2007. It cannot sustain the costs of further retrospection.
The Union submitted three claims on behalf of nurses working in Nazareth House.
It sought an improvement in the current Sick Pay Scheme with the introduction of the HSE sick pay scheme; implementation of the Local Government Superannuation Scheme and inclusion of Premia in pay for Annual Leave. The Union sought these claims retrospective to the date they were originally submitted – 25th November 1993.
Management rejected the Sick Pay and Pension Scheme claims on the grounds that it did not have the appropriate funding for such schemes. It conceded the claim for the inclusion of Premia in pay for Annual Leave, with effect from 1st January 2007.
Management explained that Nazareth House is predominantly funded by an annual grant from the HSE; However, it submitted that the funding provided does not meet the cost of providing the high level of staffing required for its heavily dependent patients and consequently it has been in deficit for a number of years.
The Court holds the view that it is common practice within the health service for employees to have a pension scheme and finds it alarming to be informed that nurses with in excess of 20 years service in the health sector have no occupational pension entitlements.
Under Section 8 of Towards 2016 the Social Partners agreed on the objective that all retired people should have adequate incomes and the agreement provides for appropriate measures to ensure the introduction of new occupational pension schemes where none exist.
Therefore, the Court recommends:
The Court recommends the introduction with immediate effect of a sick pay scheme, which provides benefit of full pay less Social Welfare benefit for six weeks and half pay for a further six weeks.
The Court recommends that the parties should meet to discuss the introduction of an appropriate Pension Scheme for the nurses involved in this claim.
Pay for Annual Leave
The Court notes Management’s concession of the claim to take effect from 1st January 2007. The Court, however, recommends retrospective payment of six years annual leave premia, i.e. with effect from 1st January, 2001.
The recommended discussions on an appropriate pension scheme should take place with immediate effect, and should be completed within a three-month time-frame. However, in the interim, both parties should make representations to the appropriate authorities to obtain the necessary funding to allow the Court's Recommendations to be implemented.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th February, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.