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Southern workers discriminated against in sick pay -- Morgan

15 August, 2006


Sinn Féin spokesperson for Workers' Rights Arthur Morgan TD today expressed serious concern at research from Friends First that seems to show that 85% of private sector workers will be reliant on state benefits in the event they become unable to work due to illness. Pointing out that workers in the Six Counties are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay for 28 weeks, he went on to call for the introduction of a similar system in the 26 Counties.

The Louth TD said: "This information shows that there is a clear onus on this Government to introduce statutory sick pay for workers. In the Six Counties there is an entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), paid by the employer for up to a maximum of 28 weeks. This basic workers' right should be harmonised on an all-Ireland basis.

"We are living in one of the richest, most developed states in the world where workers pay their valuable contributions to the revenue through their taxes. Yet they are entitled to nothing in the event that they become ill and have to leave their employment for an extended period of time.

"On occasion some benevolent employers introduce a sick pay scheme for employees but this is not a legal requirement. All too often we see cases where there is no scheme and it will always be the lower paid worker that will lose out.

"The low paid workers across the state are in a precarious enough position as it is, without having to contend with the fact that they actually cannot afford to be sick. This Government should introduce a statutory sick pay scheme where employers are required to provide a minimum amount of sick pay for a minimum amount of time to their workers."

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