Short-termism on EWSS will have long term impacts

01 December 2021

• Disadvantaged workers will be impacted
• Govt reducing support that kept businesses open

Labour enterprise spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said the short-sightedness of government to taper off the EWSS will have long term damaging impacts on businesses throughout the country. With many in retail and hospitality already on its knees, Deputy Ó Ríordáin said government must do more to protect the most disadvantaged workers in our labour market.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“The EWSS has been vital in preserving industries and keeping people in employment at an extraordinarily difficult time. Unfortunately, these challenging times remain and businesses are increasingly concerned about their futures. Many businesses are reporting cancellations of group and Christmas party bookings due to the Omicrom variant. Coupled with the increased cost of running a business in the past year, the short termism shown by government will cause people to lose jobs and businesses to close.

“We know that the winding down of the EWSS scheme at a time when hours are being cut by employers due to people staying at home and avoiding large crowds will have a huge impact on the labour market, particularly disadvantaged groups. Young workers, women, and single people without children are most at risk of seeing their disposable incomes fall if the schemes are wound up – for instance, 17% of 18-24 year-olds stand to lose more than a fifth of their income in this scenario.

“While many businesses remain open, not all businesses will come through this period unscathed. Some may need a set of stabilisers and targeted supports to become viable again. The Government needs to take a strategic approach and protect jobs, protect businesses and protect families.

“It’s time for us to reimagine the EWSS by taking a leaf out of the German Kurzarbeit model, and make it a permanent feature of our labour market model and allow continued supports to be provided to, for example, the stricken aviation sector or sectors like hospitality that won’t have a full holidays tourism season.

“The ESRI’s ‘Covid-19 and the Irish welfare system’ paper published in June highlighted the profound impact that the pandemic supports have had in averting the kinds of job losses that were in prospect in march 2020. Tapering these supports off now at such a precarious point in our pandemic journey is simply nonsensical.”

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