Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon has said the continued exclusion from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) of women returning to work after maternity leave is unacceptable, discriminatory and must be rectified as a matter of urgency.
Gary Gannon TD said,
“The exclusion from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) of women returning to work after maternity leave is unacceptable and discriminatory and is causing huge levels of distress among low paid women workers at a time of increased vulnerability. This unacceptable exclusion, originally assumed to be an oversight, has been defended by the Minister for Finance, who said in a reply to a PQ that the conditions that allowed this exclusion were ‘particularly designed with a view to preventing abuse of the scheme’.
“These conditions see women excluded from the benefits of the TWSS because, although they were employees, they did not receive normal pay in January and February 2020. For women whose employers topped up their maternity pay, this will not be an issue. As such, workers more likely to be on low pay now find themselves pushed into unemployment.
“This exclusion contravenes our Equality Legislation, under which pregnancy and maternity leave has protected status. The Equality Acts prohibit any discrimination on grounds of pregnancy. This issue, originally raised by the National Women’s Council of Ireland and trade unions, must be resolved as a matter or urgency. Keeping workers in employment and retaining the link between employer and employee is critical at this time.”
13th May 2020