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Government Reverses Decision on Implementation Date for Healthcare Assistants’ Pay Rise in Ireland

Dublin: In a recent development, the government has opted to reschedule the implementation date for the proposed salary increase designated for thousands of healthcare assistants.

The Department for Employment and Enterprise conveyed that this decision stems from a request put forth by Nursing Homes Ireland. According to the department’s statement yesterday, the rationale behind this adjustment is to accommodate the needs of nursing home operators who require additional time to adapt and allocate the necessary funding for the wage increase. Originally slated to take effect from yesterday, some nursing homes have already enacted the pay rise, while HSE staff have also been assured of a salary increase.

Furthermore, there was a notable policy shift regarding the proposal to reduce the fee for issuing work permits from €27,000 to €30,000. Initially scheduled for applications and renewals starting Wednesday, this decision was reversed following a meeting between Minister of State for Employment and Enterprise Neale Richmond and representatives of Nursing Homes Ireland.

NHI Chief Executive Tadhg Daly, in a released statement, expressed full support for the initiative to enhance wages for individuals working in nursing homes. Daly welcomed the decision to postpone action, particularly during a period of heightened pressure on nursing home operators. While recognising the deserving nature of care assistants for their challenging roles, he emphasised the necessity of a funding structure, with the government ultimately shouldering the responsibility of salary payments.

This deferral, as specified by the department, applies to healthcare assistants and home support workers. The goal is to provide the nursing home sector with sufficient time to meet the financial demands associated with these pay adjustments within the framework of their funding model.

Government officials and employers have pledged to honour a rate of €30,000, and the delay is deemed necessary to facilitate a more comprehensive resolution. Notably, some occupations, including horticulture workers, language skills experts, and a specific category of meat processing workers and butchers, saw their wages increased as scheduled. The minimum wage for meat processing workers and butchers, for instance, rose from €23,000 to €30,000 annually.

In response to the government’s decision, a petition has been formally submitted to the Department of Employment and Enterprise by the Overseas Health and Home Carers Group. The petition urges an immediate announcement of the revised scheme’s sanctioning date, reflecting the disappointment expressed by affected individuals.

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