The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has demanded that sick pay be made mandatory to ensure the safety of workers during the Covid expansion.
The ICTU demands that all political parties should take the necessary steps to make sick wages compulsory for workers and should also make sure that the government implement this immediately.
The ICTU says that Covid has created a major crisis for life and work and that about half of workers do not receive sick wages.
“It took a pandemic to expose the big failings in how we protect workers against loss of income, the lack of a legal entitlement to sick pay from an employer being one of the most glaring examples,” said ICTU general secretary Patricia King.
The situation in Ireland, which does not require employers to continue paying wages in the event of illness or inability to work for a specified period of time, is contrary to European standards.
“Workers in Ireland have no legal right to sick pay. Sick pay is at the discretion of the employer to include or not in a contract of employment…. As a result, up to half of the labour force, including hundreds of thousands of low-paid essential workers, don’t receive sick pay and face being financially compelled to keep on working when sick,” Mr. Kings said.
The ICTU Social Policy Officer Laura Bambrick said that the process of obtaining sick leave pay in Ireland is not functioning.
He said that ““Ensuring workers are well at work is a basic issue of safety and simply the right thing to do. When workers are unwell they need to rest to recover.”
He also said that when sick workers stay home they reduce the spread of infection and the risk of workplace accidents; they keep all others safe.
At the same time, the ICTU is preparing to publish recommendations and quick guides to ensure sick pay.