Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Labor law and the armed forces

The Irish Examiner has this report on the aftermath of Ireland's recent court settlement about the application of some wage-and-hour standards to military personnel. Excerpt:
PDForra [Permanent Defence Forces Other Ranks Representative Association]general secretary Gerard Guinan said members of the Defence Forces have been unable, as a result of an exclusion clause contained in the Act, to avail of all of the full and ordinary statutory rights and entitlements relating to carryover of unused annual leave, minimum periods of daily rest, maximum weekly working hours, and related workplace rights and benefits. He said PDForra had been fighting for these rights for several years.

“In fact, the basis for this case was lodged as a claim by PDForra in 2013 and the Department of Defence have stonewalled us until last week, when eventually they changed the regulation,” said Mr Guinan.

He said it was now being conceded by the Government that effectively it will not rely on the exclusion clause contained in the legislation and will bring members of the Defence Forces within the scope of the Act, subject to the application of exclusions/derogations permitted by the Working Time Directive.

The Department of Defence can revoke the Working Time Directive for the Defence Forces if there is a national emergency. Mr Guinan said he accepted that.

“It needs to be remembered that these rights are designed to protect the health and safety of workers. There are many more cases where different aspects of the directive are being breached, from our perspective.”

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