Urgent action needed to address childcare insurance issues in scheme for Healthcare Workers

Seán Sherlock TD
07 May 2020

Responding to reports that childcare providers who take part in the Government’s at-home childcare scheme for healthcare workers won’t be covered for COVID-related insurance claims, Labour spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Seán Sherlock TD said:

“This is an issue that needs to be rectified as a matter of urgency, 11 days out from when the scheme is supposed to kick in. Otherwise, this scheme is unworkable.

“It has taken several weeks for the Government to produce a desperately needed plan to provide childcare for frontline workers and now it appears to have hit a major obstacle before even getting off the ground.

“While it’s difficult to understand why the insurance issue wasn’t foreseen or factored into the plan before now, the Government now needs to take action to resolve it.

“The Minister clearly stated in the Dáil that insurance would be extended except when a worker contracted COVID-19 in that setting. Now we have reports of insurers flatly saying that workers who engage with the scheme will not be covered at all and the State is refusing to indemnify the workers for such a scheme.

“The Government also has to clarify, through legislation if necessary, that people cannot sue if they catch COVID-19 in a business premises or as a childminder in someone’s home unless there has clearly been gross negligence in terms of their health and safety.

“There is still zero clarity on what safety measures and protocols are being incorporated for the workers and the family where childcare is being offered. This cannot be a policy made on the hoof or left to generics because the safety of the worker and the safety of the family must be paramount. Workers, families and the general public need to have confidence in this scheme. At the moment there is simply none.”

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