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High Court of Ireland Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> High Court of Ireland Decisions >> The Sunday Tribune Ltd. (in Liquidation), Re  IEHC 2;  IR 505 (26th September, 1984)
Cite as:  IEHC 2,  IR 505
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Examiner’s memorandum identifies the first claimant as “Patrick
Woodworth, of a class for convenience described as ‘shift workers’,
whose claim is as a part-time worker working under the same conditions, control
and supervision as full-time employees, paid by the shift under a contract
based on the house agreement applicable to all employees. This claimant worked
two shifts per week.” In a separate affidavit Patrick Woodworth said that
he was employed on a shift basis and that, in the beginning, he did one shift
per week as sub-editor. He was required to attend at a specified time and then
worked under the guidance of the chief sub-editor and to his instructions until
the shift was over. The period of the shift was fixed in advance. If any work
had to he done beyond the end of the shift, overtime was paid. From March,
1983, he worked two shifts per week. He worked under the same general terms and
conditions (of a house agreement between the company and the National Union of
Journalists) as full-time employees.
next claimant is described in the Examiner’s memorandum as “Mary
Holland, of a small class described as ‘regular columnist.’ Her
contract agrees a fixed fee of £— per week as a journalist in
relation to her weekly column, her attendance and participation in editorial
conferences and whatever additional small news items came her way. For two
weeks of the year, payment was to be honoured without having to supply copy.
For two additional weeks, advance copy was to be accepted by the newspaper. The
salary was separately negotiated and was not a minimum fixed by a trade union
affidavit Mary Holland says she was paid that sum per week to include a regular
weekly column, attendance and participation at editorial conferences, with such
further news items or items of interest as she might be able to contribute. Six
times a year the column was to be a major piece.
next claimant is identified in the Examiner’s memorandum as “Ronit
Lentin, of a class described as ‘regular contributors’ who were
paid for commissioned work not necessarily appearing weekly on a
rate-per-word-basis. No reference was made to editorial control or attendance
at the office.” In her affidavit Ronit Lentin said that she had been a
regular contributor. She visited the office of
once each week and she would either suggest a topic for an article or be asked
to contribute an article of a certain length on a specific topic. She was then
commissioned and paid on the basis of the house agreement between the company
and the National Union of Journalists. She said that in no case was the work
embarked on without a firm commission from the editor.
of the three claimants filed an affidavit to say that he or she was registered
with the Revenue Commissioners under Schedule D and, accordingly, paid tax on
his or her aggregate annual income from journalism.
am satisfied that the fact that income tax was not deducted in accordance with
the PAYE system is not the determining factor in this case. The profession of
journalism is such that a journalist may have an income from more than one
source under a contract of service or a contract for services or both. It
appears to have been a matter of convenience, permitted by the Revenue
authorities at the time, to allow payments to be made without deduction of
PAYE, notwithstanding the status of the worker. At the time she was working for
Holland was also working part-time for London Weekend Television and also for
Woodworth, who worked part-time on shift for
Irish Press Group and the Irish Independent Group. He said that there was no
difference in practice between the way in which those with certificates of
exclusion (i.e., those from whose pay income tax was not deducted under the
PAYE system) worked and the way in which those without such certificates worked.
determining factor is whether the work which was done by each claimant was done
on foot of a contract of service which created the relationship of employer and
employee or whether it was done on foot of a contract for services which did
not create that relationship. The Court must look at the realities of the
situation in order to determine whether the relationship of employer and
employee in fact exists, and it must do so regardless of how the parties
describe themselves: see
Dawson & Partners.
simple test is whether the employer possessed the right not only to control
what work the employee was to do but also the manner in which the work was to
be done. However, that test is no longer of universal application. In the
present day, when senior staff with professional qualifications are employed,
the nature of their employment cannot be determined in such a simplistic way.
J. goes on (at p. 248 of the report of the
to say that nowadays professional and similarly skilled persons are widely
engaged under what are recognised as contracts of service, and he reviews
recent authorities in relation to particular cases which have been held to be
(or not to be) contracts of service.
court went on to hold that the plaintiff, who was political and lobby
employed under a contract of service. The job of political and lobby
correspondent was essential for and woven into its political coverage. The
court held that the plaintiff’s job was an integral part of the business
Patrick Woodworth’s case, his employment satisfies the simple test of
control by the employer. He worked at specified times under the guidance of the
chief sub-editor and to his instructions. The fact that he worked part-time
does not change the nature of his employment. A person may be an employee even
though employed part-time:
of Social Security.
addition, a person may be employed by different employers:
I am satisfied that Mr. Woodworth was employed by
a contract of service.
Mary Holland’s case, I am of opinion that her employment was an integral
part of the business of the newspaper. The column was to run for 50 of the 52
weeks of the year. She took part in editorial conferences. There was provision
for the equivalent of holiday pay. Her case is not dissimilar to that of the
I am satisfied that she was employed under a contract of service.
Ronit Lentin’s case, I am of opinion that her employment was not an
integral part of the business of the newspaper. In my opinion, she was a
freelance contributor who secured commissions in advance. She was under no
obligation to contribute on a regular basis. Presumably, if she did not
negotiate a commissioned article, the company’s editor would get articles
from some other source. Therefore, I am satisfied that she was not employed
under a contract of service but was an independent contractor in respect of the
articles she did provide.