Ballinasloe Co-operative Livestock Mart Ltd has been ordered to pay one of its mart workers a total of €3,616 in compensation after the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) upheld three complaints made by the employee concerning their employment at the mart.

Teresa Kenny filed a series of complaints against the mart on 16 June 2021, having been employed as a canteen manager from 1 January 2002 on a weekly wage of €250.

Ms Kenny had alleged that she had not received a written statement of her terms of employment and that she was not paid sick leave in line with an implied term of her contract.

The claims were denied by the mart, which countered by stating that Ms Kenny had received a contract outlining the terms of her employment “at or near” the beginning of her employment and that she had no contractual entitlement to sick pay.

The WRC held a remote hearing on the complaints on 10 December last year and ruled in Ms Kenny’s favour regarding three complaints made against the mart.

Written contract

Ms Kenny had alleged that she was not provided with a contract outlining her terms of employment when starting out in her role at the mart in 2002 and that she had sought to sign one “in or about 2010”.

The mart maintained that a written employment contract between the two parties did exist, but when this alleged contract was produced, Ballinasloe Mart acknowledged that neither party had signed the document, there was none of Ms Kenny’s particulars on the contract and that the document was not dated.

The WRC adjudicating officer Brian Dolan cited the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 in his decision, where it is outlined that there is a need for a “statement in writing” on an employee’s terms of employment to be presented within two months of employment commencing.

The WRC found that the failure of Ballinasloe Mart to outline clearly Ms Kenny’s terms and conditions of employment caused the worker “significant difficulties towards the end of her employment” and that €750 in compensation would be payable to her on this complaint.

Change to employment terms

Ms Kenny told the WRC that she had been paid full wages when out of work on sick leave over three periods, once in 2014 and the two remaining instances being in 2016.

Ms Kenny claimed that her line manager had told her to apply for illness benefit in a meeting in August 2020, after Ms Kenny had been certified as unfit to work by her GP.

During this meeting, the line manager had agreed to pay €91 weekly to make up the difference between Ms Kenny’s illness benefit and her wages of €250 per week, the mart worker alleged.

Ms Kenny continued to deliver GP certificates to her employer on her understanding that sick pay would issue in due course.

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