Ireland needs sick pay for all

Many of my friends across Europe were shocked to hear that when I was first diagnosed with my Goodpasture Syndrome and its associated kidney failure, I received no sick pay from my employer. It took many months to get the Illness Benefit from the State as well. If it had not been for Andrew, I do not know what would have happened.

Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, many other workers in Ireland have faced just that problem. With no legal right to sick pay, they are forced into a Hobson’s choice of going into work while sick, or else losing a portion of their income.

The (Irish) Labour Party has been calling for the government to introduce Sick Pay for All Workers since the start of this month and today we heard that the government are proposing a six month consultation on sick pay provisions.  This is just not good enough.  The pandemic is happening now.  At this rate, we could have a vaccine before we see progress on statutory sick leave from the government!

Ireland is one of the very few European countries where workers do not have a legal right to sick pay.

The Chief Medical Officer, Chief Clinical Officer and the CEO of the HSE have all come out saying that the Government needs to do something to make sure workers do not have to choose between not going to work because they may have COVID, or not getting paid.  So far, this Government has done nothing about it.

We in the Labour Party are not going to stand idly by as the health of our workers, and future of the country and this pandemic hangs in the balance, while the Government stumbles from fiasco to fiasco.

The Bill proposed by the Labour Party would introduce a temporary extension of force majeure leave so that parents can take paid time off to look after their kids if they are sent home from creche or school because the need to isolate or because the setting has had to close. This is another crucial step in providing the clarity and stability to working parents and their families across the country.

We need Sick Pay for All and we need it now.

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