Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Irish Court Gives Pay-Off Parity to Contract Lecturer

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Irish Court Gives Pay-Off Parity to Contract Lecturer

Article excerpt

A union representing Irish academics has welcomed a landmark legal decision that removes an incentive for universities to employ staff on fixed-term contracts in a bid to avoid larger redundancy pay-offs.

The Irish High Court ruled last month that a fixed-term employee of University College Cork who was made redundant in 2009 was entitled to exactly the same pay-off as full-time academics elsewhere in the sector.

After being laid off by UCC following three and a half years at the college, she took her case to the Labour Court, where she was awarded "an ex gratia redundancy payment calculated on the basis of four weeks' pay per year of service, in addition to her statutory redundancy entitlement".

But the institution appealed to the High Court on various grounds, including the claim that it had never made a redundancy payment to a comparable permanent employee.

The High Court judge, Mr Justice Kearns, rejected all of UCC's claims. He said that given the lack of permanent comparators within the institution, the applicant was perfectly justified in seeking comparators "in the same industry or sector of employment", as laid down by legislation. …

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