Le­gal spot­light on sta­ble staff work­ing hours

Horse & Hound - - Newsinsider - By RACHAEL TURNER

IRE­LAND’S Bal­ly­doyle Racing Sta­bles has chal­lenged a Work­place Re­la­tions Com­mis­sion (WRC) no­tice to com­ply with em­ploy­ment leg­is­la­tion.

A com­pli­ance no­tice was is­sued af­ter WRC in­spec­tors de­tected an al­leged breach of the Work­ing Time Act in re­la­tion to ex­ces­sive work­ing hours for sta­ble staff based at Bal­ly­doyle.

Dur­ing the Labour Court hear­ing in Dublin last month (28-29 Au­gust), bar­ris­ter Rose­mary Healy Rae said in­spec­tors dis­cov­ered sev­eral em­ploy­ees had worked 19 hours dur­ing a 24-hour pe­riod at the

Co. Tip­per­ary yard and were not given the stip­u­lated com­pen­satory rest pe­ri­ods.

It was al­leged some em­ploy­ees had worked 28 con­sec­u­tive days with­out a day off.


SINCE Fe­bru­ary 2015, race­horse train­ing yards do not qual­ify for work­ing hours ex­emp­tions that are al­lowed for in agri­cul­tural work­places, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­trial re­la­tions law in Ire­land.

Cham­pion trainer Ai­dan O’Brien, who runs Bal­ly­doyle, said it was in­ap­pro­pri­ate that train­ing yards do not meet the cri­te­ria to be classed as agri­cul­tural work­places.

“When we were in agri­cul­ture we were to­tally com­pli­ant, but now we’re not in agri­cul­ture we’re not com­pli­ant,” he said.

Mr O’Brien cited his in­ter­est in the wel­fare of his staff and their ded­i­ca­tion to their work.

He said that con­ti­nu­ity of care was im­por­tant for race­horses and feed­back from riders was vi­tal, adding that he took care match­ing em­ploy­ees to horses and that chang­ing staff in­creases the risk of ac­ci­dents oc­cur­ring.

At the hear­ing it was sug­gested that Bal­ly­doyle em­ploy two grooms per horse to en­sure staff are given suf­fi­cient down­time.

This sug­ges­tion has pro­voked heated de­bate in the eques­trian world, with many com­ment­ing on so­cial me­dia that this num­ber of grooms would be “overkill” and un­af­ford­able.


THE ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Bri­tish Grooms As­so­ci­a­tion, Lucy Katan, said that grooms could “ad­e­quately look af­ter four to six horses”, but more staff are needed than those that are re­quired on the yard each day.

“You have to have more peo­ple on your staff quota to ful­fil hol­i­day re­quire­ments,” she told H&H.

“If you’re run­ning a busi­ness it’s im­por­tant to have enough staff to al­low em­ploy­ees to have their time off and statu­tory an­nual leave. For ex­am­ple if you need four mem­bers of staff, you will need at least five on the rota.”

A ver­dict on the ap­peal is ex­pected later this month.

Cham­pion trainer Ai­dan O’Brien gave ev­i­dence at the hear­ing

Twice cham­pion Ir­ish jump jockey

Davy Russell has been given a four-day ban af­ter a sec­ond hear­ing into an in­ci­dent where he punched Kings Dolly on the neck at Tramore on 18 Au­gust.

Ni­cola Wilson is cel­e­brat­ing her new ca­reer-best world rank­ing of num­ber two in the lat­est FEI world event­ing ath­lete rank­ings. Ni­cola won Euro­pean team gold and in­di­vid­ual bronze last month.

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