Gardaí are turning up for work on crutches, with slings on arms, back injuries, and chronic flu because they are fearful of losing sick pay entitlements.
Adding insult to injury, if they exacerbate their health problem by doing this, they could be fined by Garda management.
Gardaí had their sick pay entitlements cut in line with other public servants to three months’ full pay and three months’ half pay.
Prior to the cut, introduced last February, gardaí would only lose full pay if they were sick more than 183 days in the previous year. That has been changed to the previous four years.
GRA general secretary PJ Stone said gardaí don’t lose entitlements if they are injured on duty.
However, he said they are often attacked off-duty and if injured in such a manner, they are not covered.
The GRA recently lost a High Court challenge to have the sick pay entitlements reversed. Mr Stone said the GRA was preparing an appeal and was prepared to fight the case “all the way up to the European Court because an injustice was done to gardaí”.
“Our uniform is also not fit for purpose and if gardaí are out in the pouring rain for hours and get pneumonia as a result three months later, the State doesn’t recognise it was got on duty,” Mr Stone said.
He said gardaí often got involved in sports clubs and other community-based organisations, but were now “terrified of getting injured”.
Mr Stone said under An Garda Siochána disciplinary regulations, management could fine gardaí if they exacerbate an illness or injury by working.
“This could apply, but thankfully it hasn’t. I imagine people [management] would be very slow to invoke this, but a super-intendent could direct somebody who has a mortgage to pay or family to feed to go home.”
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