Reasonable Cause For Delayed WRC Submission

The standard time limit for submission of complaints to the WRC is generally six months from the date of the contravention that the complaint relates to as per Section 41(6) of the Workplace Relations Act 2015, and as per Section 41 (8), this may only be extended for a further six month period, if reasonable cause is presented for the delay.

The Courts do not easily deviate from prescribed statutory time limits for hearing claims and in this regard, with the well established test as per Cementation Skanska v Carroll DWT0425, it is for the claimant to show that there are reasons which both explain the delay and afford an excuse for the delay, as well as providing a casual link between the circumstances cited.

Further case law has supported this position, with for example, a miscalculation of one day for the submission of an appeal to the Labour Court, not deemed to represent sufficient reasonable cause to grant the Court jurisdiction to proceed (Galway & Roscommon ETB & Josephine Kenny).

In another case, the Labour Court overturned the Adjudication Officer’s decision and found that there were no reasonable grounds put forward for the delay in bringing an unfair dismissal claim in December 2016, some eight months after the Complainant’s dismissal in March 2016, despite a period of time abroad due to family bereavement and illness, as well as the Complainant being hospitalised, and it was deemed that there had been sufficient time available to submit the claim within the prescribed limits. (ADJ 0009650)

In a recent case however, in which a claim for outstanding holiday pay during a period of sick leave was submitted 10 days late, the Adjudication Officer agreed that reasonable cause for the delay had been presented. Following the employee’s termination of employment on March 29th 2020, ongoing engagement took place with the employer and an additional amount of holiday pay was paid on August 28th 2020. Further emails were then sent on September 8th and September 14th by the employee’s representative to try and resolve the matter, as the employee wanted to avoid going to the WRC, but they were not replied to. The employee’s representative was then unable to attend the office due to a family member contacting Covid 19 and he submitted the claim on 7th October after he returned and dealt with a backlog of work. The Adjudication Officer decided that it was reasonable to extend the time limit by six months and the claim was heard. (ADJ-00030160)