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High Court Rejects Point of Law Appeal from Labour Court Regarding Working Time

posted 3 months ago

Walsh v Kerry County Council [2023] IEHC 719 concerned a recent appeal on a point of law from a determination of the Labour Court. The issue before the High Court was whether or not the Labour Court erred in finding that a retained firefighter was not “working” during the periods he was on standby and awaiting a call-in.

Facts: The Appellant, Mr Walsh, is a retained firefighter, based at Ballybunion Fire Station, who has been employed on a part-time basis at the station since 2008. The Appellant is required to be available on a 24-hour daily basis excluding periods of approved leave, and to be available at all times generally for call outs. He is also required to normally reside and work within a “reasonable distance” of the fire station. The Appellant is required to be released from his normal employment on occasions that attendance at fires demands such release. The Appellant is also subject to a minimum requirement of 75% of attendance at alerts. He had a ten-minute response time to an alert. The Appellant maintained that his standby/ on-call periods constituted working time. While the Respondent, Kerry County Council, argued that on-call periods do not constitute working time.

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