Labour Court directs HSE to improve home help contracts
Siptu welcomes the recommendation which is binding
Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell welcomed yesterday’s Labour Court recommendation and said it was the result of a ‘concerted campaign’. Photograph: Eric Luke
The Labour Court yesterday issued a binding recommendation that 10,000 home-help workers employed by the HSE be issued with improved contractual conditions.
The ruling emerged from a dispute between the HSE and unions Siptu and Impact.
Many home-help workers have up to now been on zero-hour contracts, which are formal agreements where the employee must be available for work but does not have specified hours and must be available for a certain number of hours per week.
Labour Court deputy chairman Caroline Jenkinson directed home-help employees be guaranteed at least seven hours work per week under a new annualised hour arrangement. This number is to rise “progressively” to 10.
“The number of hours to be allocated to each person will be based on 80 per cent of their actual hours worked in the six-month reference period between October 1st, 2011, and March 31st, 2012, with a minimum guarantee of seven hours,” said Ms Jenkinson in her judgment.
Those who do not wish to operate under the annualised hours scheme are entitled to compensation of between €2,000 and €3,000.
Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell welcomed the recommendation and said it was the result of a “concerted campaign” by the group’s members.
“It means home helps will have a minimum of seven to 10 hours work each week in contrast to the current situation where many are on unacceptable zero-hour contracts.”