'We don’t have six months': Government under fire for lack of action on sick pay

'We don’t have six months': Government under fire for lack of action on sick pay

Public health officials have warned that the lack of sick pay is fuelling the spread of Covid-19, by forcing those who are unwell back into work, according to Labour party leader Alan Kelly.

The Government has come under fire for lack of action on sick pay.

Public health officials have warned that the lack of sick pay is fuelling the spread of Covid-19, by forcing those who are unwell back into work, according to Labour party leader Alan Kelly.

Mr Kelly challenged the government in the Dáil on the issue of mandatory sick pay on Wednesday, and said it was “a bit of a joke” that the Government was going to consult on the issue for six months, he told Newstalk Breakfast.

“They are spreading Covid. We know about this in meat factories and we know about it in other sectors as well.

“We don’t have six months. It is a bit of a joke to say they are going to go off and consult for six months. Really we need this now. We know now that the numbers are beginning to go way up again, the numbers yesterday were really concerning so we really need to ensure we put everything against fighting Covid."

Ireland is one of only five EU states without mandatory sick pay.

Meanwhile, The Irish Congress of Trade Unions who have also called for mandatory sick pay, have now withdrawn from the Low Pay Commission.

ICTU General Secretary Patricia King said on RTÉ's Morning Ireland that other members of the commission were not prepared to propose an increase in the national minimum wage for 2021 beyond 1%.

Ms King said her organisation: "could not in conscience be party to any recommendation that did not afford the lowest-paid workers in the Republic of Ireland an increase in excess of 2%, similar to other sectors in our economy".

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