A hospital porter has been awarded €10,000 in compensation for the HSE’s failure to let him take his full annual leave over the course of a decade.
The health service still owed the man ove 10 weeks' holidays when the Workplace Relations Commission heard the case in March this year - but at one point he had built up a legal entitlement to over five months' paid time off, the adjudicating officer found.
Michael Moore's complaint under the Organisation of Working Time Act against the HSE Mid-West, University of Limerick Hospitals Group, was upheld in a decision publishedon Friday by the WRC.
Mr Moore, who has worked at a site in the UL Hospitals group since 1986, gave evidence that any time he sought time off he was asked who would cover for him.
As there was no cover, he would not get his full annual leave entitlement, he told the Commission. He said his manager told him there was “nothing he could do”.
Mr Moore said he kept track of his own hours and spoke with an employee in the HR department who provided him with a log of holidays.
Mr Moore said he knew the question of annual leave had been subject to talks between hospital group bosses and trade unions since 2016, and that there had been “some changes” to the situation since then.
Patrick Nicholas BL, who appeared for Mr Moore in the matter instructed by Martin Tynan O’Donovan Solicitors, said his client was owed 1,139.5 hours in annual leave, or around 29 weeks’ worth.
However, after reviewing calculations following the hearing, he agreed that a figure of 750 hours, 19 weeks’ worth, would be acceptable.
The hospital group argued the correct amount owed was 297 hours, just over 7.5 weeks’ worth, and said it was “agreeable to pay same”.
Adjudicating officer Ewa Sobanska found the complainant received less than his entitlement in every annual leave year from 2005 to 2015.
By 2015 he had accumulated five and a half months’ paid leave entitlement, with the deficit reduced to around 10 weeks’ worth by the time the matter was called on for adjudication in March this year.
Ruling the complaint well-founded, Ms Sobanska directed the hospital group to discharge this obligation and pay Mr Moore a further €10,000 in compensation.
The award took account of the “gravity of the infringements” and their “sustained nature”, she wrote.