Five “frontline” pharmacy workers missed paying the bonus during the Covid-19 pandemic process after it was discovered that they weren’t wearing masks at work.

Last year, their employer issued five with a final written warning about not wearing a mask.

In one case, in April 2021, a final written warning was issued as a result of a female worker not wearing a face cover that she described as “two very short periods” at work.

At the disciplinary hearing, workers emphasized that she was at the forefront since the beginning of the pandemic, that her non-compliance was only a momentary loss of concentration and that the issue should be treated as retraining. .. Matter.

Workers said the issuance of written warnings was unfair and caused her to lose the bonus payments she was supposed to receive.

Employers said mask non-wearing incidents occurred on December 28 and 30, 2020, shortly after the country returned to Level 5 restrictions from midnight on December 24, 2020.

Company policy

The employer said the worker’s non-wearing of the mask lasted 30 minutes and the second time lasted an hour.

This is against company policy, as is HSE and Nphet’s guidance on the use of surgical masks in the medical setting.

In an internal appeal, the final written warning was reduced to a penalty for the first written warning, but the warning was “live” when the bonus was paid, so the worker did not receive the bonus payment. did.

The five filed allegations under the Labor Relations Act, and in his findings, Breiffni O’Neill, the arbitrator of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), issued a warning in April 2021 regarding female workers. I admitted that it was reasonable for the employer to impose in the lawsuit. Written warning sanctions for health and safety breaches.

Written warning

O’Neill admitted that CCTV had shown her that she wasn’t wearing a mask, and that workers admitted that “the breach occurred in the extraordinary world of medical practice where we lived at the time.” He said it was rational to think about.

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The pharmacy pointed out that the worker’s written warning had expired and was removed from the file.

O’Neill said it follows the penalties and non-payment of bonuses resulting from the imposition of sanctions, given his finding that issuing written warnings to workers is a reasonable decision on behalf of employers. It was also fair and rational.

As a result, Mr O’Neill said he could not make recommendations in favor of the workers involved.

O’Neill did the same for the other four workers, but couldn’t agree with their claim.

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