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Mariusz has been working as a mechanic in a meat factory since he moved to Ireland in 2007. In August 2019 he was sent to one of the factories to repair a rotary packing machine which broke after one of the employees dropped a lump of meat inside. In order to repair it, Mariusz had to remove steel plates which weighed about 25kg each from the machine. This was a job for two people but Mariusz was told to do it on his own. He finished fixing the machine and went home.

 

Mariusz woke up in the middle of the night with a heavy, piercing pain in his back. He took pain pills and tried to go to sleep but nothing helped. He had to call an ambulance and was taken to hospital.

 

Mariusz reported the accident to his employer the following day and said that he was unable to return to work. In Ireland, an employer is not obligated to pay you while you’re out of work sick. Mariusz was afraid of losing his income.

 

When Mariusz came to us we explained that he might be eligible to apply for illness benefit from the Social Welfare. We helped Mariusz fill in the documents and apply for the benefit. He was granted a weekly benefit of €203. This was not as much as he earned as a mechanic but it allowed Mariusz to get by until he got better and was able to return to work. In addition, we claimed for the difference between the illness benefit and Mariusz’s average wage and recovered his loss of earnings.

 

Mariusz’s case is ongoing. Under the new PIAB guidelines he can expect an award of approximately €20,000 to €35,000.

 

The above story is true. However, the names of the people involved and the locations have been changed to protect their privacy.

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