The Social Democrats have called for swift action to introduce a targeted sick pay scheme for staff in the nursing home sector and meat industry.

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD today raised with the Taoiseach the need for the immediate introduction of a targeted scheme for staff who are particularly vulnerable.

Commenting, Deputy Shortall said:

“We have repeatedly made clear that lockdown cannot be the only response to the pandemic. Government needs to act quickly to show what measures they will take to suppress the virus. This means learning some lessons. One of these surrounds the need for sick pay for workers who are particularly vulnerable.

“Data from the OECD has shown that the take up of paid leave went up significantly in many countries at the start of the pandemic, by up to 50% and 100%. Many countries have expanded paid sick leave since the pandemic, including introducing specific measures to support frontline staff and support for workers with care responsibilities related to sickness. Regretfully, we have not implemented such policies.

“We need swift action as we move towards winter to ensure that, as a bare minimum, workers who are particularly vulnerable are protected and have access to sick pay.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Taoiseach today showed no willingness to address this issue. We cannot risk a repeat of the disastrous experiences in nursing homes and among meat factory workers that we saw earlier in the year where both settings caused spikes in the virus.”

October 20, 2020

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