SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
SOUTHSIDE PARTNERSHIP TRUST DLR LIMITED
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Ms Connolly
Worker Member: Ms O'Donnell
1. Appeal of Adjudication Officer Decision No. ADJ-00001678.
2. This matter was referred to an Adjudication Officer for investigation. On the 20thSeptember 2016 the Adjudication Officer issued the following decision:-
- The DSP funds the Respondent’s organisation and do not provide for the maternity leave top-up. It is not included in her contract and the Respondent does not have funds to cover it.
The Union on behalf of the employee appealed the Adjudication Officer’s decision to the Labour Court on the 28 October 2016 in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969.
A Labour Court hearing took place on the 27 January 2017.
3. 1. The Claimant’s contract of employment does not mention maternity leave. The Respondent’s policy documents states that employees of Southside Partnership are entitled to a top up of maternity benefit.
2. A number of individuals employed by the Respondent organisation have been paid the top-up of maternity benefit.
4. 1. The Department of Social Protection (DSP) funds theT�Sproject run by the Respondent.
2. Contracts of employment for T�S Team Leaders do not provide for a top up of maternity benefit and do not refer to any policy other than the guidelines issued by the DSP.
The matter before the Court concerns an appeal by the Union on behalf of an employee of an Adjudication Officer’s Recommendation ADJ-00001678 concerning the Claimant’s claim for payment of maternity leave benefit to top up her statutory Maternity Benefit. The Adjudication Officer found against her claim.
Southside Partnership Trust DLR Limited (Southside Partnership) operates an employment initiative scheme called T�S Initiative on behalf of the government. The scheme is funded through Pobal on behalf of the Department of Social Protection. The Claimant has been employed as a T�S Team Leader by Southside Partnership since March 2012.
The Union submitted that as Southside Partnership provide a maternity top up payment to its core employees hence the Claimant should be entitled to such a payment. The employer stated that the terms and conditions of employment applicable to employees on the T�S Initiative differ to those of its core employees and there was no provision in her contract of employment to pay such a benefit. In any event the employer stated that it did not have the funding available to meet the Claimant’s claim.
The Court has considered the oral and written submissions of the parties. The Court notes that while the Department of Social Protection and Pobal guidelines/rules state that the usual statutory arrangements in respect of maternity and adoption leave apply, they also provide for the T�S programme implementer to offer enhanced or additional terms at its discretion to a T�S Team Leader, while ensuring that no costs fall on the Department in respect of such arrangements. Furthermore, the Court understands that the terms and conditions of employment of T�S Team Leaders are the subject of discussions at national level.
In all the circumstances of this case and taking account of the Claimant’s length of service and the element of discretion given to the employer, the Court recommends on an exceptional basis the Claimant should be paid the sum of €1,800 as a top up maternity leave benefit. The Court recommends that the Union should accept that such a discretionary payment does not create a precedent for the future.
The Adjudication Officer’s Recommendation is varied accordingly. The Court so Decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31 January 2017Deputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Louise Shally, Court Secretary.