MRCI welcomes the introduction of the long-awaited Sick Leave Bill announced by Government today (30th March 2022).
A scheme such as this has the potential to ensure that every worker, especially lower paid workers, have peace of mind of knowing that if they become ill that they will not lose a day’s pay if they stay home from work. However, the Government’s Sick Leave Bill 2022 does not live up to this. Disappointingly it includes a requirement that a worker needs to provide a doctor’s certificate to their employer to claim even a single day’s sick pay.
Bill Abom, Deputy Director with MRCI said, “This requirement will be a significant obstacle to low paid workers leaving workers worse off. Just look at the maths. A meat factory worker on the minimum wage earns €84.00 working an 8-hour day. Proposed sick pay entitlement of 70% of daily wage is equal to €58.80. The average cost of a GP visit is €60. Subtracting the GP visit from sick pay entitlement will leave the worker €1.20 worse off”.
He continued “The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted significant health and safety concerns for many essential front-line workers who had no sick pay schemes. Many are migrant workers in nursing homes and in meat processing plants, without whom our society and economy would severely struggle to function”.
Abom concluded “The new statutory sick leave scheme should trust workers and give a limited self-certification period of up to two days to empower workers, giving some time to determine if their illness requires them to seek medical attention and more time to recuperate. We urge the Government to act on this as failure to do so will exclude the very workers it seeks to protect”.
Caroline França – 083 888 9185
Bill Abom – 087 6918688