Beaumont Hospital has been ordered to pay an engineer nearly €12,000 after failing to pay him three years of overtime and on-call duty while keeping ‘lifesaving equipment’ running.
Clinical engineer Gareth Enright has brought a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) under Section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act 1991 against University Hospital Dublin.
He told the WRC that in 2015, three years after he started at Beaumont, he started getting calls outside of working hours and was told he had been added to a watch list.
The hospital expected him and his colleagues to provide out-of-hours standby service to maintain essential hospital equipment without an agreement for a standby payment, he said. declared.
He said the calls were generally for the “most urgent situations” involving the operation of lifesaving equipment and it had “a significant impact on his personal life and well-being”.
Mr Enright submitted a copy of an HSE circular on emergency ICT out-of-hours on-call arrangements issued in February 2018.
He said staff would be paid €450 for a weekend on call or a full week of nights, and the payment would apply retrospectively from the start of August 2017.
Mr. Enright said that after initially opting to apply back pay from the date of the circular, Beaumont’s human resources department asked him and some of his colleagues, to calculate the value of the retroactive payment.
It took time, he said.
When offered a higher position with another employer in June 2020, he was again asked about back pay and was told he would not be excluded from any retroactive payments, a- he declared.
“The payments promised by the respondent have not been honored,” he said in his brief.
Beaumont Hospital, which was represented by Ibec’s employer relations manager, Aoife McDonnell, at an arbitration hearing in November 2021, initially sought to dismiss the overtime claim.
Ms McDonnell argued the alleged breach occurred on July 31, 2020, when a payslip was mailed, but the complaint was lodged with the WRC on January 31, 2021 – arguing that she fell just outside the six-month window to take a complaint and should not be serviced by the commission.
Arbitration officer Conor Stokes said it was “established law” that correspondence sent by post is deemed to be delivered the next working day. He ruled that the date the letter was sent was the Friday of a bank holiday weekend and found that the payslip was delivered the following Tuesday, August 4, 2020.
“The complaint was filed on time,” he said.
In its submission, Beaumont Hospital said it “refutes the claim in its entirety” and said Mr Enright had been paid in full in accordance with his contract of employment.
Ms McDonnell argued that the Wage Payment Act did not allow Mr Enright to claim costs or any other sums not stated in his contract and said the complaint was “without merit”.
In his judgment, Mr Stokes wrote that the employment contract “cannot be viewed in isolation” when a circular issued by Beaumont’s parent organization affected wages and operational policy.
He said the circular issued in February 2018 “could be considered a written notification of the terms of employment”.
In discussing the salary arrears with his former colleagues and then paying them, “the respondent acknowledged that such payments constituted the salary normally due”, he writes.
“I believe that the amount duly owed to the complainant corresponds to the same level of remuneration that his colleagues were receiving at the same time. Accordingly, I find the complaint to be well-founded,” he wrote.
He ordered Beaumont Hospital to pay Mr Enright €11,891.28 for a combination of overtime and custodial pay for a period from August 2017 to September 2018.