Worker paid only €2.50 an hour now due €4,300
A bed-and-breakfast worker who claimed she was only paid €2.50 an hour over six months should be paid more than €4,300 in back wages, the Labour Court has recommended.
In a written decision, the court recommended that the owners of the Drumcreehy House bed and breakfast in Ballyvaughan, Co Clare, pay a former worker €4,346 after she took action against them when they terminated her employment in September 2009.
She claimed she had not been paid the national minimum wage of €8.65 an hour but only €2.50 an hour for six months.
But the owners, Armin Grefkes and Bernadette Moloney Grefkes, said they disputed the findings of the court and were considering taking further legal action.
"We are very upset about the result," Mr Grefkes told the Irish Independent yesterday.
The case came before the Labour Court after the couple previously appealed a decision by a Rights Commissioner, which ruled in the worker's favour and awarded her €4,084 in outstanding pay.
But Ms Moloney Grefkes claimed that the worker, German native Marika Lubig, had been hired on a work placement basis and was not an employee. Ms Lubig was also provided with free lodgings for herself and her husband, as well as access to a car and the use of the B&B's computer, she said.
The Labour Court report said Ms Lubig was offered the job and was to be paid €100 per week. However, it also noted that Ms Lubig was in her forties and had considerable work experience in the restaurant-and-hospitality industry.
Ms Moloney Grefkes said: "The woman was coming from the German equivalent of FAS. We put herself and her husband up at no charge. We were giving her a start in Ireland on a work placement and told her if things worked out, we would offer her a proper paid job the following season."
The court heard that Ms Lubig was paid €100 per 40-hour week. She worked 887 hours in total and was entitled to a total payment of €7,672 based on a rate of €8.65 per hour. She received €2,217.
In its ruling, the Labour Court said there were instances where payments below the national minimum wage were allowed, but they did not apply in this case.
Ms Lubig, meanwhile, could not be reached for comment yesterday and has reportedly returned to Germany.