NERA report says 64% of grocers underpay workers

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Irish TV presenter Lorraine Keane at the Forty Foot in Dublin’s Sandycove (Photo : Justin Farrelly)

Grocery retailers and "allied trades" forced to pay up €136,046 in moneys owed to employees



8 March 2009

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Last month the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) revealed in its annual review that 64% of “grocery retailers and allied trades” inspected were found to be in breach of Employment Law with respect to adequately compensating their staff.

A spokesperson for the agency told ShelfLife that 88% of breaches detected related to non-compliance in respect of pay-related/monetary issues.

In the case of 34%, the offender was paying staff below the statutory minimum rate of pay; 19% were found to pay no overtime for additional hours worked; 17% gave no “unsocial hours premium”; 14% denied staff their public holiday entitlement; 3% failed to ensure staff received their paid rest break provided for in the Employment Regulation Order; and 1% were found to have denied staff their annual leave entitlement.

NERA determined the total amount of arrears of pay due to employees in the retail sector recovered in 2008 was €136,046. The average payout by employers in breach of pay-related/monetary issues was €2,093.

Of the employers found to be in breach, 14% were in the greater Dublin area compared to 86% outside of Dublin. “The figures are indicative of the fact that the majority of the inspection activity took place outside of Dublin,” the NERA spokesperson said.

In instances where the agency detected a breach of regulations, NERA’s “primary objective” is to “work with employers to seek compliance with the legislation, and rectification of any breaches identified, including redress for individual(s) concerned and payment of any arrears due.”

NERA defines the “retail grocery and allied trades” as those consisting of the sale of: cooked meats ready for consumption; other food, such as bakery and confectionary; beverages ready for consumption, such as milk and soft drinks; tobacco and tobacco products; or “mixed undertakings” involving the sale of all the above.



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