March 6, 2020
Government must look at revising illness benefit amid Covid-19 outbreak – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin Social Protection Spokesperson John Brady has said the Government must revise the illness benefit for people who made to self-isolate from C ovid-19, and that a simplified application process must be rolled out to ensure people do not have to attend either the INTREO office or a GP to attain medical certificate.

Speaking today, Deputy Brady said;

“With recent international health events it is critically important that every effort is made to ensure workers are protected and to contain further spread of illness.

“I have serious concerns that thousands of low paid or precarious workers may be unable to afford to self-isolate.

“The government must ensure that nobody is forced to work if medical advice to self-isolate is given.

“Employers then should continue to pay workers who fall ill or are made to self-isolate due to the virus.

“Unfortunately some employers have said they will not pay their workers in this context. Only yesterday IBEC refused to give an assurance that employers would provide sick pay to workers affected by the Covid-19 virus on an across-the-board basis

“The only possible option for many workers will be to avail of illness benefit. However, due to criteria requirements, many workers might not have enough PRSI contributions to qualify.

“Even if a worker qualifies for full illness benefit, there is no entitlement at all for the first six days of absence from work. 

“The government must make immediate changes to ensure illness benefit is paid from day one. There must also be an emergency payment for anybody that doesn’t meet the qualifying requirements for the illness benefit, where there is a financial need.

“A simplified application process must also be rolled out to ensure people don’t have to attend either the INTREO office or a GP to get medical certificate.”

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