Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Spain calls for improvements in work life balance

2 March, 2007


Sinn Féin candidate for Dublin Mid West Joanne Spain speaking during the Workers Rights session said: When you consider the benefits of having measures that improve work-life balance - improved productivity, reduced absenteeism and better retention of staff - and the cost of not having them, it is hard to understand why so little progress has been made."

She said:

One of the important areas covered by this document is the issue of work life balance. Sinn Féin believes that increased work-life balance should be a major social objective, with the potential to significantly improve the quality of life of individual workers and families. We want to facilitate people being able to have time to spend with their families, time to participate in community life, time to enjoy leisure activity and also time to participate in political life. The inability of workers to achieve work-life balance is a growing cause of workplace stress. This is ultimately bad for employers and of course bad for workers.

When you consider the benefits of having measures that improve work-life balance - improved productivity, reduced absenteeism and better retention of staff - and the cost of not having them, it is hard to understand why so little progress has been made.

The primary proposals in this section are aimed at enabling parents to balance caring for their children with their work commitments. By enabling parents adequate time to care for their children in their earliest years of life it is society that ultimately gains. Today, because of the cost of living and the huge mortgage burdens borne by most young families both parents have to work full time. Maternity leave and maternity entitlement are both insufficient. In the 26 counties there is no entitlement whatsoever to paternity leave for new fathers.

We want to see parents, where it is their preferred choice, being enabled to care for their children for the first three years of their lives. We are calling for increased rights to flexible work arrangements. We are proposing that maternity leave be progressively extended to 52 weeks paid leave, that four weeks paid paternity leave be introduced and that payment be introduced in respect of parental leave and that it be progressively increased to 104 weeks.

Sinn Féin is also proposing the harmonisation of annual holidays across Ireland and an increase in statutory minimum annual leave entitlements (excluding public holidays) to 25 days.

Connect with Sinn Féin