Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, Employment and Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly TD has called on the government to stop blaming workers who cannot work from home.
Speaking this afternoon, Teachta O’Reilly said: “A mammoth effort from the public has gone into reducing the spread of Covid-19 over the past number of weeks. The vast, vast majority of people are adhering to the public health guidelines because they know it will protect health and save lives.
“Workers in particular have made huge sacrifices – many have seen their sectors under enforced closure due to the public health restrictions, others have had to totally recalibrate how they work, and many are at the frontline working in essential services in supermarkets, the health service, food production and supply, to name but a few.
“Due to the public health measures, employers and managers have allowed workers to work from home, with many employees putting in a full day’s work from bedrooms, box rooms, children’s playrooms, or kitchen tables.
“Unfortunately, not all jobs can be done from home, and, even with those that can, not all employers or managers have allowed employees to work remotely.
“Without a legal right to work from home, and with some employers and managers demanding that workers turn up on-site, many workers have had to attend their place of work all through the Level 5 restrictions.
“Therefore, it is incredibly unfair that these workers are constantly singled out for criticism by the government.
“The emphasis has to be on employers allowing employees to work from home as much as on it is on encouraging workers to work from home.
“Not only that, but there needs to be emergency legislation to allow workers to work from home, where it is possible for that work to be carried out remotely. If this is not done, then people will continue to be compelled to attend their place of work by employers and managers.”