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Latest HR News

Labour Court’s recommendation in Workers v Timber Company Case

Labour Court Image

SIPTUThe Workers at a timber company brought a case against their Employer to the Labour Court and the Recommendation was very interesting.


The Workers, who were represented by Services Industrial Professional Technical Union (SIPTU), wanted a 5% pay increase. However, the Company didn’t feel as though it should be paying such an increase.


The National Wage Agreement ceased in 2008 and the Workers in the Company have not received a pay increase since then.  The dispute between the Employees and the Company could not be resolved at local level and became the subject of a Conciliation Conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). Agreement was not reached here and so, in November 2013, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court.

Labour Court

In March of this year a Labour Court Hearing took place. The Union argued that the Workers at the timber company have had to endure the austerity measures introduced in successive budgets over the last number of years. They have also experienced a significant increase in taxation which, combined with the difficult budgets, has resulted in a reduction in the take home pay for the Workers. SIPTU also argued that the increase sought was a modest one and that it would not adversely impact the Company.


The Company, on the other hand, argued that it was forced to take certain steps to remain viable and maintain levels of employment in the very competitive recent market conditions.


The timber firm also stated that it had always met its commitments under the National Wage Agreements; however, any increase in pay at this stage would inevitably challenge the security of employment within the Company.

Increase in pay



Mr. Hayes (Chairman), Mr. Murphy (Employer Member) and Mr. Shanahan (Worker Member) considered the Employee and Company arguments and made a decision based on all of the submissions.


In the end, the Court met in the middle and Recommended that the Company increase the pay of the workers concerned by 2% for twelve months, effective 1st August 2014.


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Risk Assessment for Pregnant Employees – Employer Responsibilities

Rok Assessmnet for Pregnant Employees

Risk Assessment for pregnant employees

- Once written notification of pregnancy has been received, a special risk assessment for pregnant employees should be instigated.

- It is important that the employee gives you, the employer a copy of any advice that their GP/Midwife has given them, which could impact on the risk assessment.

Risk Assessment for Pregnant Employees

- The purpose of the risk assessment is to analyse the role carried out by the employee with a view to identifying any possible risks to mother and baby. Some common risks are as follows:

*Lifting/carrying heavy loads

*Exposure to toxic substances

*Standing/sitting for long periods of time

*Work-related stress

*Workstations and posture

*Threat of violence in the workplace

*Long working hours

*Excessively noisy workplaces

- The following are the different stages of/options with a risk assessment for pregnant employees:

Stage 1 - Identify the risks (if any)

Stage 2 - Ascertain what can be done to reduce/remove any identified risks. This may involve adjusting working hours/conditions. It may also involve assigning the employee to alternative work for the duration of the pregnancy (here, the employee's pay will remain the same).

Stage 3 - Where the risks identified are too great and there is no possibility of removal/reduction (this may not be practical within the workplace etc.), the employer may take the decision to suspend the employee from work until such a time as the health and safety of mother and child are no longer in jeopardy. This is called Health & Safety Leave. The employee would be entitled to full pay for the first three weeks of this period of suspension. An exception to this may be where an employee has unreasonably refused to do the alternative work offered to them or where the employee does not meet any reasonable requirements.

- The employer should regularly monitor and review any assessment made to take account of the possible risks that may occur at the different stages of pregnancy.


Risk Assessment for Pregnant Employees

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All Hours Worked by Employees Considered in Annual Leave Calculation

Annual Leave Calculations

Did you know that all hours worked by any employee are taken into account when calculating Annual Leave? This will include any hours worked in addition to normal working hours. Further to this there are additional leave periods that will be included ... Read More »

Carer’s Leave – What Employers need to Know.

Carer's Leave Ireland

 Carer’s Leave

In accordance with the provisions of the Carer’s Leave Act, 2001, if an employee has completed 12 months’ continuous service with you; he or she is entitled to take unpaid Carer’s Leave in order to care for a person (a ‘Relevant Person’) who requires full-time care and attention. Carer's Leave is protected leave.

Carer's Leave

A ‘Relevant Person’

A ‘Relevant Person’ is a person who is over the age of 16 and is so incapacitated as to require full-time care and attention or a person who is under 16 and in receipt of a Domiciliary Care Allowance. A Deciding Officer of the Department of Social Protection determines whether or not an individual qualifies as a ‘Relevant Person’. Employees may be entitled to receive Carer’s Benefit/Carer’s Allowance whilst on leave. You should inform employees that they should apply to the Carer’s Benefit Section at their local Social Welfare Office so their eligibility can be assessed. There is no statutory obligation on you as an employer to pay employees during Carer’s Leave.


Other than their right to remuneration, you should treat employees as though they have been working during a period of Carer’s Leave. Annual Leave and Public Holidays will accrue as normal for employees during the first 13 weeks of Carer’s Leave. The minimum statutory entitlement is 13 leave weeks and the maximum period is 104 weeks. The 104 weeks (2 years) can be taken in one continuous block or it can be broken up into multiple separate periods of leave – there must be a gap of at least 6 weeks between periods of Carer’s Leave.

Employment LawApplication/Notification

If one of your employees intends to avail of Carer’s Leave then he or she should write to you not less than 6 weeks before the proposed commencement of the leave in order to apply for this leave. The application should include the following details:

             The manner in which the employee intends to take the leave

             The proposed commencement date and, where possible, end date (this won’t always be possible – especially if the ‘Relevant Person’ is terminally ill; for instance)

             That he or she has made an application to the Department of Social Protection for a decision to be made in respect of the person for whom they propose to avail of the leave

A confirmation document should be signed by you and the employee prior to the commencement of Carer’s Leave.

If the employee would like to return to work on a different date than previously agreed (if one was agreed) then he or she should provide you with a ‘Notice of Return to Work’ not less than 4 weeks prior to the intended return date.

Termination of Carer’s Leave

Carer’s Leave may be terminated for several reasons. If it becomes apparent that the person for whom the care is being provided is not in need of full-time care any longer for whatever reason, you may terminate the leave. The Department of Social Protection will make a decision in certain instances.


To download our Staff Suggestion Form click the image below ->

Staff Suggestions

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Recent Labour Court Cases