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Greens raise further concerns on maternity leave issue

Date: 21 May 2020

Green Party spokesperson for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Steven Matthews TD, has again highlighted the issue facing mothers returning from maternity leave in accessing the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. Deputy Matthews said,

“This is an issue that I first raised in the Dáil nearly a month ago and it’s extremely frustrating for the women impacted by this failure. The response from Minister Humphreys at the time was that the matter would be reviewed in conjunction with the Department of Finance but as of yet nothing has been confirmed.

“I was encouraged by the Dáil debate yesterday where the matter was raised by a number of parties. The minister confirmed that the matter is under review and frankly this can’t happen soon enough. There seems to be a cross party consensus on this issue and as I stated in the Dáíl, women returning from maternity leave should have the exact same rights and supports as their co-workers with regards to accessing the wage subsidy scheme.

“I have been contacted by a number of mothers who have been told by their employers that they must apply for unemployment payment as their employers can’t bring them back onto payroll because of this omission in the legislation. Firstly, this differentiates them from their colleagues which isn’t fair and secondly this cuts the crucial tie between employer and employee which goes against the direct purpose of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.

“Every day we are reading about more and more job losses and projected unemployment figures and this is an instance where an intervention could directly maintain employment. I have written to the Minister to ask how many women are impacted by this as it stands. A number of trade unions have been very strongly advocating on this issue, notably the National Women’s Council of Ireland who have written to TDs. I fully support their efforts and I am joining them in calling for the Minister to rectify this issue as soon as possible”.

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