SECTION 7(1), PAYMENT OF WAGES ACT, 1991
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY BETTER WORKING LIVES FOR ALL)
1.Appeal of Adjudication Officer Decision No(S) ADJ-00040138 CA-00051417-001
The Adjudication Officer decided that the complaint of the Complainant was not well founded.
A bonus scheme was in place in the employment providing for payment to employees at the conclusion of a contract of the Respondent with a customer. That bonus arrangement was conveyed to employees by the Respondent in November 2021.
On 28th January 2022 the terms of the bonus payment were communicated by letter to all employees including the Appellant. That letter included a provision that
Law applicable to the within complaint
The Act at Section 5(1) provides as follows:
The Appellant submitted that he was entitled to receive a bonus of €1,600 on 30thJune 2022. He submitted that the failure of the Respondent to pay him a bonus in that amount on that date amounted to a deduction within the meaning of the Act.
He submitted that he had given notice of the termination of his employment on 3rdJune 2022 specifying that his employment would terminate on 17thJune 2022.
Whereas he accepted that only those workers in employment on 30thJune 2022 were entitled to receive a bonus payment on that date he submitted that he had agreed with a manager of the Respondent that he could ‘bridge the gap’ between the date of termination of his employment and 30thJune 2022 by reference to annual leave outstanding as owing to him on 17thJune 2022. He submitted that this agreement had effect notwithstanding he had received payment in respect of outstanding annual leave entitlement no later than 23rdJune 2022.
The Appellant’s representative clarified to the Court that she would not be calling witness evidence on behalf of the Appellant.
Summary of the submission of the Respondent
The Respondent submitted that only persons in employment on 30thJune 2022 were entitled to payment of a bonus on that date. This condition of payment had been explicitly conveyed to the Appellant on introduction of the bonus scheme in November 2021 and in writing in January and March 2022. No deduction from the wages of the Appellant took place on 30thJune 2022 as alleged.
The Appellant gave notice in accordance with the terms of his contract of employment that his employment would terminate on 17thJune 2022. No agreement was ever reached with any member of the management of the Respondent to alter that date or to ‘bridge the gap’ between that date and 30thJune 2022 through any arrangement as regards outstanding annual leave owing to the Appellant at 17thJune 2022.
Payment in accordance with the terms of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 in respect of all outstanding annual leave due to an employee on cesser of employment was made to the Appellant on termination of his employment.
The Respondent clarified to the Court that it would not proffer witness testimony.
Discussion and conclusion
InMarek Balans v Tesco Ireland Limited  IEHC 55Finnegan J. considered Section 5 of the Act as follows:
It is accepted by both parties before the Court in the within appeal that payment of the bonus at issue was due to eligible employees on 30thJune 2022 and that it was a condition of payment of that bonus on that date that the worker be in the employment of the Respondent on that date.
Both parties accepted that a letter written by the Respondent to the workers in the employment in January 2022 setting out this condition of payment was received by the Appellant and that the terms set out in that letter were the terms governing payment of the bonus. Both parties also accept that a further letter of March 2022 made clear that a bonus payment would be made on 30thJune 2022 and that it was a condition of that bonus that any beneficiary must be in the employment of the Respondent on that date.
It is accepted by both parties that the worker gave two weeks’ written notice of the termination of his employment on 3rdJune 2022 and that he specified therein that his employment would terminate on 17thJune 2022. It is accepted by both parties that the worker’s contract of employment required him to provide two weeks’ notice of termination of employment.
It is accepted by both parties that all of the Appellant’s outstanding annual leave entitlements on cesser of his employment were paid to him by the employer in accordance with the requirements of the Organisation of Working time Act, 1997 at Section 23 no later than 23rdJune 2022.
It is also accepted by both parties that, notwithstanding any contention or disputation as to whether it had actually terminated on the 17thJune 2022, the employment of the worker had certainly terminated no later than 23rd June 2022.
The Court concludes that the Appellant held no contractual or other entitlement to be paid a bonus payment by the Respondent on 30thJune 2022. There is no submission before the Court that wages of any other amount were properly payable to the Appellant on that date.
The Court therefore concludes that the amount of wages properly payable to the Appellant on 30thJune 2022 was nil. There is no dispute that the amount of wages actually paid to him on that date was nil.
The Court therefore concludes that the wages properly payable to the Appellant at the material time were equal to the wages which were in fact paid to him at that time.
In those circumstances, no deduction within the meaning of the Act has been made from the wages of the Appellant as contended by him.
The Court must consequently find that the complaint of the Appellant is not well founded.
For the reasons set out above the Court determines that the within appeal must fail.
The decision of the Adjudication Officer is affirmed.
The Court so decides.
Enquiries concerning this Determination should be addressed to Clodagh O'Reilly, Court Secretary.