Labour’s alternative budget is first and foremost a budget for workers

Senator Marie Sherlock
08 October 2020

Speaking on the launch of Labour’s proposals for our alternative Budget 2021, the party’s spokesperson on Employment Affairs, Senator Marie Sherlock said:  

“Labour’s alternative budget for 2021 is first and foremost a budget for workers. With so many working people struggling through the pandemic, it’s vital concrete steps are taken to protect incomes, safeguard workers’ health and ensuring a fair Covid recovery.  

“Labour is proposing to restore the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) to €350 a week in light of the continued uncertainty around wages for so many workers in vulnerable sectors across the economy. This is small price to pay to ensure workers and families are supported through these difficult times. 

“It is also vital that workers are able to look after their health, and that the lack of paid sick leave for so many employees is addressed immediately. Labour is proposing an investment of €70 million for a comprehensive sick pay scheme, to include: 

  • The ability to claim Illness Benefit from the second day of an illness, rather than the current requirement to wait six days without pay; 
  • A hardship fund to support small and medium enterprises who have difficulty covering sick leave;  
  • Guaranteed sick leave for workers in the childcare sector
  • A €5 million levy on the meat processing sector, where only 20% of workers enjoy paid sick leave

“In addition to these measures, Labour also wants to deliver for low-paid workers by raising the national minimum wage by twice the level currently recommended by the Government. This is with a medium-term view to increasing the minimum wage to bring it to a Living Income as a minimum for all workers. We are also proposing an extra €300 million in supports and restart grants to help support struggling businesses through the months ahead.” 

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