Maternity Protection Act, 1994 – Safety Leave
This issue arose in case ADJ-00021750. In this case the employer conducted a risk assessment and submitted this presumably to the Department. The employee in this case was working as a primary school teacher in a primary school. It appears that the Department refused the application on the basis that the complainants’ issues were of a medical nature as opposed to matters relating to health and safety. The Adjudication Officer in this case said that the employer had sought certification in line with the terms and conditions of employment and circular letter 54/2019. It appears that this was a case where all parties being the school and the employee were of the view that there was an imminent health and safety risk it was simply that the Department were not in agreement. The employee in this case had sought health and safety leave for the period from November 2018 to February/March 2019. Under the Maternity Protection Act the relevant provision is Section 18 which would have provided for the employee receiving effectively three weeks pay. The Adjudication Officer took the view as the Adjudication Officer is entitled to do that the issue of health and safety leave was determined by the employees’ contract of employment. We would be of the view that the entitlement comes under the Maternity Protection Act and that the employee cannot contract out of those rights by anything in their contract or by way of a circular from the Department of Education.
*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.