New Bill seeks to bring in paid childcare leave amid pandemic

ireland
New Bill Seeks To Bring In Paid Childcare Leave Amid Pandemic New Bill Seeks To Bring In Paid Childcare Leave Amid Pandemic
Paul Murphy said the Bill seeks to address a crisis facing many families across Ireland
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By Cate McCurry, PA

A new Bill has been launched that would bring in paid leave for working parents who have to care for children at home because of the pandemic.

Solidarity-People Before Profit published the Paid Childcare Leave (Covid-19) Bill 2021 on Tuesday.

Last year, the Government launched a consultation process to bring in statutory sick pay. Under current laws, there is no statutory entitlement to employer sick pay.

Paul Murphy, a Dublin South West TD, said the Bill seeks to address a crisis facing many families across Ireland.

 

The Rise member said the Bill covers cases where children are sick or self-isolating and also situations where children are staying home as schools and childcare facilities are closed as part of Covid-19 restrictions.

“There are families who have potentially used all of their annual leave already in the previous lockdowns and really are faced with a crisis situation where they cannot do their work, either because they are not able to go in physically or it isn’t possible,” Mr Murphy added.

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“We have been inundated with parents raising this issue. Unfortunately, the response from the Department of Social Protection has been that parents and employees need to try to reach an accommodation with employers, but if workers can’t then you can go on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

“That is not good enough. The department is saying you should be unemployed and you have no right to get your job back after Covid.

“This disproportionately affects women, and over the last decade [the] unemployment rate for women has been lower than men but now it is higher as a result of the pandemic.”

People Before Profit TD Brid Smith said the Bill recognises childcare disproportionately affects women.

Brid Smith. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

“It’s also the case that when children are sick, parents who are working are left in a very difficult situation, and would mainly have to take time from their annual leave or unpaid leave,” she added.

“This will give them a legal entitlement to two weeks minimum sick pay, regardless of Covid – this would be a permanent feature.

“The Government have said that they’re going to bring in statutory sick pay at some point next year, they’re putting it off and putting it off.

“What they are talking about is a very, very basic minimum of a few days.”

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