Kelly proposing emergency legislation to protect workers in self-isolation

02 March 2020

Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, will this week bring emergency legislation before the Dáil to deal with immediate issues around the Coronavirus.

Deputy Kelly said:

“I have asked the Labour Party’s legal team to draft legislation protecting workers who may be impacted by the Coronavirus- specifically on the remuneration of workers who have to self-isolate and how we can use private medical facilities, particularly intensive care beds if needed. I intend to bring both pieces of legislation to the Dáil this Thursday.

“No worker who has to self-isolate because of Covid 19 should lose out on pay or additional days of annual leave because of this virus. I believe that this can be dealt with in a similar way under law under the same type of provisions if a worker is undertaking jury duty – whereby they don’t lose out on annual leave or their pay is impacted.

“The State needs to adequately respond to concerns around ICU beds and the lack of isolation facilities if further cases of Covid-19 are diagnosed here in Ireland.

“The fact of the matter is that our hospitals are already suffering with chronic overcrowding issues; we know that the number of ICU beds are completely inadequate for current demand — how will our intensive care units cope if there is a Covid-19 outbreak when these services are already over-stretched

“I have asked our legal team to produce legislation on how the State can make use of private facilities, particularly ICUs if needed.

“It is imperative that this week a Select Committee on ongoing health issues is established to work on a cross-party basis to deal specifically with emerging and ongoing issues in the health service such as Coronavirus and capacity issues in our health service.”

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