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The Government Appears to finally acknowledge that the Horse Racing Industry is one that warrants a separate arrangement for workers regarding working time

In an interesting article written by Mark Costello of The Irish Field, (link below) it appears that both the Minister for Employment and Social Protection and the Attorney General acknowledge that a derogation from the Working Time Directive should be sought for the Horse Racing Industry. The Horse Racing Industry in France has enjoyed such a derogation for a long time. This was not an issue in Ireland until the definition of “agricultural worker” was altered by the Industrial Relations Act 2015.

It is interesting to note as an aside that the Workplace Relations Commission (“WRC”) wasted no time after this change in the law to inspect Ballydoyle. It begs the question as to whether the decision to inspect Ballydoyle was due to the WRC’s predecessor, “NERA”, having unsuccessfully attempted to enforce the former Registered Agreement for Agricultural Workers on Coolmore. There was clearly no consideration given to the adverse impact this could have on the Horse Racing Industry. Nevertheless, it is good to see from Mark Costelloe’s article, that the Government is looking at addresses the matter, hopefully before the WRC Inspectors proceed against other trainers.

While the HRI and the WRC are meant to be releasing an employers’ guide for trainers, this guide will not alter the law as it currently applies, particularly in relation to working time and breaks. The Government needs to move on this and when considering an alternative arrangement, hopefully it will consider how the smaller trainers will be able comply with it, in addition to the staff’s needs. Otherwise, trainers won’t survive and there will a number of people unemployed, an adverse impact on the Horse Racing Industry and a knock on effect on the country’s economy.

Link to Mark Costelloe’s article
For any queries, please contact Anne O’Connell Solicitors at info@aocsolicitor.ie or +353 1 2903580

28th February 2018
Anne O’Connell
1-3 Burton Hall Road
Dublin 18

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