March 23, 2021
Government should allow frontline and essential workers carry over annual leave they were unable to take due to Covid-19 – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has called on the government to allow frontline and essential service workers to carryo ver annual leave they could not take due to Covid-19.

Speaking this morning, Teachta O’Reilly said:

“It is nearly five months since I introduced the Covid-19 Carryover of Annual Leave Bill in the Dáil. It sought to give workers the legal right to carry over any leave which they could not take due to the effects of the Covid-19 crisis into 2021 and/or 2022.

“In that time. the government have refused to support my Bill, and the Tánaiste went as far as saying that workers seeking to carry over of annual leave was not a particularly pressing issue.

“Many workers, especially frontline and essential service workers such as suppliers, shop and supermarket workers, workers in food processing, nurses, doctors, Gardaí, and others, have been working around the clock for a year now to help us through the Covid-19 crisis.

“Unfortunately, for many of these workers, this has meant they have been unable to use up all of their 2020 annual leave due to the workplace demands the pandemic has brought.

“As a result, countless workers face losing many days of annual leave. Indeed, many have reached out to me to say that they have received a ‘use it or lose it’ notice from their employers in relation to their annual leave.

“However, they are caught in a vicious cycle where they must use their leave or lose it, but in reality they cannot take leave because of the pressures of Covid-19 on their workplace.

“This situation was always likely to arise, and it was for this reason that I drafted the Covid-19 Carryover of Annual Leave Bill to give workers definitive legal protections in carrying over untaken leave.

“Workers have accrued their leave and they are entitled to it and, if they cannot take this leave due to Covid-19, they should have a legal right to carry it over into this leave year, and/or next year, by which time, we hope, the vaccination programme will have been rolled out.”

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