Speaking after a meeting of the Enterprise Trade and Employment Committee, which discussed the draft scheme of the government’s Sick Leave Bill 2021, Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan said that the move to deliver a statutory sick pay scheme is welcome, but there is a need to refine the draft bill to ensure it delivers for workers.
Senator Gavan said:
“The move to deliver a statutory sick pay scheme is a welcome one, but in welcoming this move, it should not be forgotten that it has taken the devastating impact of this pandemic for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to deliver what has been the norm across Europe for decades.
“It should not have taken a pandemic to usher in the delivery of a statutory sick pay scheme for workers. Such a scheme should be a minimum workers’ right in any progressive society.
“For years, Sinn Féin advocated for such a scheme while Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and others refused such calls, and argued that it was impossible to deliver such a scheme.
“The draft bill which outlines how the scheme will work, however, needs refinement.
“For instance, the draft bill includes the need for medical certification of illness in order to access the sick pay scheme.
“While this is commonplace in many other European countries, it’s inclusion here does not reflect the fact that GP care here is neither free nor accessible for the majority of workers.
“This aspect of the bill must be reviewed to take account of these realities.”