Monday 16 September 2019

Paddy Power has to pay €100k to 70 staff after denying rest breaks - union

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Industry Correspondent

PADDY Power has to pay almost €100,000 to up to 70 staff after denying them rest breaks, according to a union.

Mandate has claimed that workers at the company – now owned by Flutter Entertainment – were expected to deal with customers while eating their sandwiches during breaks.

It said it took a number of cases to the Workplace Relations Commission in relation to between 65 and 70 workers and the company has agreed to compensation worth between €700 and €1,000 each.

In a statement, it said the final decision by an adjudication officer was issued last Friday.

In one of the adjudications, seen by, the complainant said they worked 40 hours a week as a retail betting assistant.

They alleged that the company breached organisation of working time act in relation to their entitlement to statutory rest breaks.

Paddy Power defended a lack of scheduling of breaks and argued that the nature of the business it operates within involves a large element of variability and requires flexibility.

It said factors driving this include peaks and troughs in the racing season and the times at which major races are scheduled.

“This is another reason why the scheduling of specific breaks in rosters is not desirable and further necessitates the respondent’s system whereby shop managers are responsible for ensuring that employees take their rest break entitlements.”

During periods of high activity like Cheltenham and the Grand National, it said staff numbers are increased to ensure sufficient opportunities for rest breaks.

However the adjudication officer found the complaint to be well founded, and directed the employer to pay €1,000 compensation.

He said he reached the conclusion that the employer “does not keep appropriate records to show that employees are getting the breaks to which they are entitled” under legislation.

“Our members are delighted to see this process end with compensation of between €700-€1,000 per member for the denial of their rest breaks,” said Mandate Divisional Organiser, Robert McNamara.

“Hopefully Paddy Power and all companies ensure their workers get their basic entitlements in the future.”

He said the company has now confirmed that it will not be appealing the decisions.

Meanwhile, Mandate, which represents 300 members at the company, has written to seek a meeting to discuss a pay increase, a sick pay scheme, staffing levels and Sunday premium pay rates.

Mr McNamara said management has so far refused to engage so it will seek a Workplace Relations Commission intervention.

“If the company continue to deny their workers their democratic right to representation, we will have to consult with members to determine future actions,” he said.

A spokesperson for Paddy Power’s parent company Flutter said it has no comment to make.

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