Sunday 18 August 2019

Paddy Power in €100,000 payout to workers after clash over lunch breaks

Breaks: Sandra Maher and Vicky Callow, who work for Paddy Power. Photo: David Conachy
Breaks: Sandra Maher and Vicky Callow, who work for Paddy Power. Photo: David Conachy

Anne-Marie Walsh

Paddy Power has paid almost €100,000 to more than 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 over 70 workers under working time legislation and the company has agreed to compensation worth between €700 and €1,000 each.

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

Mother-of-two Vicky Callow (44), who works in Raheny, said she got no lunch break.

"Nobody got a break," she said. "We ate at the counter while serving customers. That was the culture. It was worth taking a case because we now get an hour's lunch and two 15-minute breaks."

In one of the adjudications, an employee said they worked 40 hours a week as a retail betting assistant. They alleged the company breached the organisation of working time act relating to rest breaks.

Paddy Power defended a lack of scheduled breaks and argued that the nature of the business it operates involved a large element of variability.

It said factors driving this included peaks and troughs in the racing season. During periods of high activity like Cheltenham, it said staff numbers were increased to ensure sufficient opportunities for breaks.

However, the adjudication officer found the complaint was 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.

Meanwhile, Mandate has written to seek a meeting to discuss a pay increase, sick pay scheme, staffing levels and Sunday premium pay.

A spokesperson for Flutter said it had no comment to make.

Irish Independent

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