News & Media

Bacik raises concerns about employee pay top ups, detention safeguards in Seanad

20 March 2020

Statement by Senator Ivana Bacik
Seanad Group Leader and Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and International Human Rights

Speaking today in the Seanad during the debate on the Government’s Health (Preservation and Protection and Other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill 2020, Senator Ivana Bacik expressed understanding as to the need for the temporary measures recommended by the Public Health in the extraordinary emergency context of the Covid-19 crisis, but raised concerns about the need to provide for safeguards through regulations for individuals who may be detained using the new powers of involuntary detention provided for in the Bill. Minister Harris assured her that additional safeguards would be provided through regulations. 

Senator Bacik also sought clarification from the Minister taking the debate, Health Minister Simon Harris, as to whether employers would be penalized by being unable to claim any reimbursement from the State where they pay employees wages over the amount of €203 per week.

Senator Bacik said: 

“It is urgent that we get clarity on this issue, as both employees and employers are very anxious at reports today that where employers continue to pay full wages or wages above the stated amount of €203 per week to staff who are temporarily being laid off, they will not qualify for any reimbursement from the State under the terms of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment Scheme. We urgently need clarification and assurance that employers who top-up wages in the interests of their staff and of the general community may do so without being penalised.”