Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland
Workplace Relations Commission

Mandate expects up to €70k 'winnings' from Paddy Power in denial of rest break cases

The union has lodged 78 seperate cases against the betting company.

THE MANDATE UNION said it expects members to get €60,000 to €70,000 in compensation from Paddy Power Betfair plc concerning the denial of rest break cases for staff.

Divisional Organiser with Mandate, Robert McNamara made the prediction today after a second tranche of decisions by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has ordered the Paddy Power business to pay 11 workers a cumulative €10,100 in compensation for the denial of rest breaks.

McNamara said that in total Mandate has lodged 78 separate cases on behalf of members and expects awards of €60,000 to €70,000 when all the cases are completed for its members based on the awards to date.

McNamara said to date the WRC has made rulings concerning 42 cases resulting in €38,000 in awards made against the Paddy Power business.

In the latest rulings made by the WRC, the Commission has ordered Paddy Power Betfair plc pay over €1,000 in respect of eight claimants – mainly managers and deputy managers; €800 in one other case and €650 in two remaining cases.

McNamara said that in relation to an earlier tranche of decisions, Paddy Power Betfair plc initially appealed the rulings to the Labour Court but then withdrew the appeals and paid over the monies.

McNamara said that he does not expect appeals in relation to the latest tranche of decisions. He said: “I can’t see any scope for appeals.”

He added that he was ‘very happy’ with the latest batch of decisions by the WRC.

Mandate has taken the cases under the Organisation of Time Act and McNamara said that the numbers that Mandate represent at the Paddy Power business has increased sharply to 300 in the wake of the successful cases.

He said that the union is considering taking further ‘denial of rest break’ cases on behalf of members.

Since the first decisions last July, Paddy Power Betfair plc informed staff of rest break entitlements that include a 15 minute break when a worker has worked for 4 ½ hours and if a staff members works more than six hours, workers are entitled to 30 minute break.

At the WRC, Mandate argued that the workers have not received their statutory break entitlements throughout the course of their employment.

At the hearings, Mandate stated that Paddy Power Betfair does not have a clocking facility in operation in their stores, nor does the firm have any documentation to prove that the workers have taken rest breaks.

At the WRC, the employer argued that the workers have received their rest break entitlements and its position has at all times been, and continues to be, in full compliance with its obligations under the Act.

In the cases where the awards were made, the WRC ruled that the employer does not keep appropriate records to show that employees are getting the breaks to which they are entitled.

A spokesman for Paddy Power Betfair plc said today: “We have systems in place to enable employees to take their breaks, and we will continue to ensure that our employees get them. We are disappointed with this ruling but we will be abiding by it and reviewing our processes accordingly.”