Wage scheme must be changed to better protect low-paid workers

06 April 2020

Labour Spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Ged Nash TD, has said the Government must amend the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) to address the perverse situation where many lower paid workers would be financially better off having lost their jobs than being retained by their employer on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).

Deputy Nash said;

“The sectors that have been most affected by the crisis are the non-grocery retail and the hospitality sectors – Ireland’s two largest domestic services sectors.

“Yet as it stands, countless workers in these sectors availing of the wage subsidy (TWSS) will be worse-off – in some cases up to €100 a week – than if they received the Covid-19 pandemic payment of €350.

“Not only does this punish those low-wage workers but it also creates perverse incentivises that will inevitably lead to more and more people dropping-out of the labour market.

“This goes against the very rationale for establishing the TWSS in the first place – to maintain the link between workers and their employment.”

“This crisis has shown us the true worth of low-wage workers – our cleaners, those who stock our shelves and deliver our food. They are our frontline heroes too.

“Yet, this value has never been reflected in their pay, and ironically it remains the case throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

“When we emerge from this crisis, Labour will insist on a concerted national effort to once and for all address the scourge of low pay and insecure work through strengthened collective bargaining laws, the type of which is the norm across decent democracies and a Living Wage for all.

“Although the TWSS was gladly welcomed in response to the crisis, clear anomalies in the functioning of the scheme have arisen.

“In order for the scheme to achieve its stated purpose, important changes need to be made.

“To protect these workers and to ensure the TSSW works as intended, we need a wage floor – of €350 net pay – under which no one should fall.”

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