May 17, 2020
Sinn Féin President calls for cross-party agreement to end exclusion of women returning from maternity leave from Wage Subsidy Scheme

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has written to the Taoiseach and other party leaders to get cross-party agreement on a mechanism to end the exclusion of women returning from maternity leave from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.  

Ms. McDonald said “There is a very straightforward way to resolve this matter and we should do it immediately.”

She said:

“Women returning from maternity leave have been excluded from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme on the grounds that – despite being employees – they were not on their employer’s payroll on the 29th February. It is very disappointing that the government has not moved to address this issue.

“The Minister for Finance has the ability to act on this without requiring an immediate change to primary legislation and he has already done so when the temporary weekly subsidy was increased from 70% to 85% on 15th April. 

“In a letter to Teachta Pearse Doherty on 24th April, the Minister confirmed that he was able to instruct the Revenue Commissioners to change this measure on an administrative basis pending necessary amendments to the legislation.

“The same mechanism can, and should, be used to allow the Revenue Commissioners to extend the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme to women who are returning to work from maternity leave after the 29th February 2020. As was done with the changes announced on 15th April, the necessary amendments in the legislation can be made in due course.

“The Wage Subsidy Scheme is an essential component of economic recovery and protecting incomes during this crisis and in the time ahead. The exclusion of women returning from maternity leave should be addressed immediately.”

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