INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS 1946 TO 2015
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
TUSLA DUBLIN NORTHEAST REGIONAL HR MANAGER
(REPRESENTED BY COMYN KELLEHER TOBIN SOLICITORS)
Appeal of Adjudication Officer Decision No's: ADJ-00038051 (CA-00049431-001).
The Worker appealed the Adjudication Officer's Recommendation to the Labour Court on 19 May 2023 in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on 4 January 2024.
This is an appeal by the Worker of Recommendation ADJ-00038051 of an Adjudication Officer in respect of the Worker’s claim that she is performing duties of a higher grade and should be regraded. The Adjudication officer did not uphold the Worker’s complaint.
Summary of Worker’s submission
The Worker commenced employment with this employer in October 2017 as a social care worker. She was assigned to OARS Family Services. At that time the section was staffed by 2 social care workers, three social care leaders and a manager. Over time staff have moved on and the vacancies have not been filled. The section currently consists of a manager and three social care workers. It is her submission that she is de facto carrying out the work of the social team leader and not being paid for it. The worker submitted that she had compared her role to the role of aftercare worker, and she believes she is carrying out duties at the same level. Aftercare worker is graded at the same level as social care leader. The Worker invoked the internal grievance procedure in October 2019, and processed her complaint through that process without success.
The Employers response was that they were not in a position to regrade staff, and even if they were to, it would be a cost increasing claim which fell outside the provisions of the Building Momentum collective agreement.
The Worker submitted that it is unfair that she is expected to carry out the higher-level duties without receiving the appropriate rate of pay. She accepted that there had been competitions for social care leaders which she could apply for, but she wished to remain in OARS and no vacancy in Oars had been advertised.
Summary of Employer’s submission
The Worker was employed as a social care worker and is seeking to have her position upgraded to social care leader. It is open to the worker to apply for a social care leader post when they are advertised. The employer does not accept that the worker is carrying out the full range of duties of a social care leader but accepts that in the section there are currently no social care leaders.
In the course of the hearing the Employers representative informed the Court that they had just recently received sanction for a career progression initiative for health and social care professionals working in Tusla. This initiative will be open to health and social care professionals with a minimum of sixty months service at basic/entry level to apply for progression to a senior grade for their profession. The Employer went on to say that eligible applicants will be assessed based on their competence and if successful will progress to the next stage which in the complainant’s case would be social care leader.
There is a dispute between the parties as to whether or not the worker is carrying out the full range of duties of the higher grade. The employer has also submitted that they may not necessarily fill some or all of the vacancies that the worker identified at senior care leader level in her section. While the worker expresses a desire to move to the higher grade in her current work section OARS, the assignment of staff to particular sections is a matter for the Employer.
The Court having considered the submissions of the parties, both written and oral, concluded that the resolution to this dispute lies in the now agreed and sanctioned Tusla Health and Social Care Career Pathways and that the Worker be allowed apply to be assessed, through that process at the earliest possible time.
The Court so decides.
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Sinéad O'Connor, Court Secretary.