Call for extra paid leave for health workers on Covid-19 frontline

A west of Ireland TD has called on the government to at the very least offer frontline health workers additional paid leave.

Deputy Denis Naughten said it was now time to offer healthcare workers “more than a round of applause."

Speaking in the Dail, he said many doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants had placed themselves at risk to keep the public safe and to care for the seriously ill.

He added that many needed to move out of their own homes to keep their own families safe.

Stating that the country owed a great debt of gratitude to the healthcare workers, Deputy Naughten continued: “If it is not possible to reward them with pay increases or some form of bonus system, at a very minimum we should offer them additional paid leave."

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he would examine Naughten’s proposal.

“I cannot make any commitments here today but I will discuss it with others."

He added that the government had committed to honouring the pay agreements that will fall due in the autumn, despite the enormous financial difficulties the State will be in.

He said this was “to recognise the contribution of the public service in general to helping the country come through Covid-19."

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