This issue arose in the case of Jennifer Duffy and Camphill Communities of Ireland, ADJ-00033463.

The Adjudication Officer referred to Section 12 of the Organisation of Working Time Act, being the section dealing with rest breaks during the day.  The respondent had relied on Section 6 of the Act, being the

exemption.  The Adjudication Officer then referred to the fact that the Regulations provide for compensatory rest breaks and refer to the duty of an employer in respect of the Health & Safety of the employee.  The Adjudication Officer held that the respondent’s organisation could be construed as similar to that of a hospital.  The Adjudication Officer pointed out that the complainant worked a twelve-hour shift without a break.  The Adjudication Officer stated that the taking of her meals with residents could not be regarded as a break given that the complainant had a supervisory role of working during this period.  The Adjudication Officer pointed out that the respondent submitted that the exemption applied and that the complainant was provided with food and was paid for her meal time as objective justification for not providing breaks.  The Adjudication Officer pointed out that in a case where the Exemption Order under Section 6 applied, the Act states in Section 6(3)(a) and (b):

“that paying the employee or providing other material benefits cannot be used as an objective justification for not providing breaks”. 

The Adjudication Officer held that given that the respondent made no provision to provide a break and required the complainant to work twelve hour shifts without a break that the Adjudication Officer considered this to be a serious breach of the Act.  In this case compensation of five weeks was given in an amount of €3,000. 

*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 proportion or percentage of any award or settlement.

Richard Grogan

Author Richard Grogan

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