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Friday 19 July 2019

Paddy Power staff denied breaks win €100,000 in compo

Sandra Maher and Vicky Callow were among almost 70 Paddy Power workers to win payouts
Sandra Maher and Vicky Callow were among almost 70 Paddy Power workers to win payouts

Paddy Power has paid almost €100,000 to more than 70 staff after denying them rest breaks, according to a union.

Mandate has claimed that workers at the company - owned by Flutter Entertainment - were expected to deal with customers while eating their sandwiches during breaks.

The union took cases to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in relation to more than 70 workers, alleging breaches of working-time legislation.

A spokesperson said the company had agreed to compensation of between €700 and €1,000 each.

In a statement, the union said the final decision by an adjudication officer was issued last Friday.

Mother-of-two Vicky Callow (44), who works in Raheny, said she got no lunch break.

"Nobody got a break," she said. "We ate at the counter while serving customers. That was the culture.

"It was worth taking a case because we now get an hour's lunch and two 15-minute breaks."

In one of the adjudications, an employee said they worked 40 hours a week as a retail betting assistant.

They alleged that the company breached the organisation of working-time act relating to rest breaks.

Paddy Power defended a lack of scheduled breaks and argued that the nature of the business it operates involved a large element of variability.

Sufficient

It said factors driving this included peaks and troughs in the racing season.

During periods of high activity, like Cheltenham and the Grand National, it said staff numbers were increased to ensure sufficient opportunities for rest breaks.

However, the adjudication officer found the complaint was well founded and directed the employer to pay up to €1,000 compensation to staff.

He said he reached the conclusion that the employer "does not keep appropriate records to show that employees are getting the breaks to which they are entitled" under legislation.

Meanwhile, Mandate has written to seek a meeting to discuss a pay increase, sick pay scheme, staffing levels and Sunday premium pay.

Mandate divisional organiser Robert McNamara said the union's 300 members at the betting chain were delighted to see the process end with compensation payments due to the "denial of their rest breaks".

"Hopefully, Paddy Power and all companies ensure their workers get their basic entitlements in the future," he said.

He added that the company had confirmed it would not appeal the Workplace Relations Commission decisions and had paid out the money owed to members.

In relation to the union's new claims for increased pay and better terms and conditions, he said management had so far refused to engage so it may seek WRC intervention.

Paddy Power's parent company Flutter said it had no comment.

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