Case DWT 1914 being a case of Sandra Cooneys Home Care Limited and Deirdre Morgan is an interesting case. In this case the Adjudication Officer has awarded the sum of €150 in compensation. The Labour Court increased this compensation to €15,000 which is a substantial increase to say the least.
In this case the Labour Court held that it was accepted that the Claimant worked every day from the 31st of January to the 6th of July 2018 inclusive and that on no date across this period did the employee receive daily rest periods of 11 hours set out in the Act. The employee received daily rest of 10 hours. It was also a common case that the employee received no weekly rest period in any 7 day period between these dates. The weekly rest period is 35 hours uninterrupted rest.
The Labour Court in this case quoted the well-known CJEU case C-484/04 Commission -v- The United Kingdom 2006 IRLR 88 being a case where the CJEU held that workers must actually benefit from their daily and weekly rest periods provided for by Article 3 and 5 of the Directive. Those provisions impose clear and precise obligations on the Member States as a result to be achieved by such entitlement. Member States which in national measures implementing the Directive, provide that workers are entitled to certain rights to rest but which, in the Guidelines for employers and workers on the implementation of those rights indicate that the employer is never the less not required to ensure that workers actually exercise such rights, does not guarantee compliance with either the minimum requirements laid down in Articles 3 and 5 or the essential objectives of the Directive, which is to secure effective protection of the safety and health of employees by allowing them to enjoy the minimum periods of rest which they are entitled to.
The Labour Court set out that it was clear that employers are obliged by the Directive to ensure that the prescribed periods of rest are actually taken the Court pointed out that the employee in this case earned €12 per hour and was rostered to work in excess of 40 hours each week.
The Labour Court also helpfully quoted the case the CJEU case of Von Colson and Kamann –v- Land Nordrhein/ Westfallen and the Labour Court measured the amount of compensation which was just and equitable as being €15,000.
It is clear from this decision of the Labour Court that the Labour Court does not regard breaches of these provisions as of minimal importance and has effectively in this decision set out the importance of employers providing the appropriate rest and break periods by what can only be called a substantial increase from a €150 to €15,000 of the compensation awarded. On the basis that the employee was rostered to work 40 hours a week at €12 an hour it is in excess of 30 weeks wages.
*Before acting or refraining from acting on anything in this guide, legal advice should be sought from a solicitor.
**In contentious cases, a solicitor may not charge fees or expenses as a portion or percentage of any award of settlement.