A shocking report in TheJournal.ie has revealed that many retail workers are being asked to take annual leave or make up the time for attendance at their Covid vaccine appointment.
Claire O’Connor, Workers’ Party representative in Dublin Central, said:”Retail workers have reported that in some instances they have had their pay docked, had to make up time or use up their annual leave to get their vaccines. This is shameful behaviour by employers”
“Many of these workers, on minimum wage, have kept the country going through the pandemic, while supermarket bosses enjoyed record sales. For employers not to provide workers with the time they need to attend appointments is unacceptable. This is also a grave health and safety issue: key workers, on the frontline of the pandemic, are postponing their vaccines for fear of penalisation in the workplace at a time when progress in vaccinating the population is at a critical stage”
She continued: “That there is no entitlement in law to either paid or unpaid time off for workers to access vaccines is a searing indictment of how Ireland treats its most essential workers. Under the 2005 Health & Safety Act, it is possible for workers to raise a case if they suffer a detriment for asking for time off, but only as a broad argument and not specific to Covid-19. Legal protections for frontline workers are totally inadequate”
“It is not enough for the government to merely ask employers to be more flexible, there needs to be a directive to all employers to facilitate time for their staff to attend their vaccine appointments, bearing in mind that no one gets a choice when their appointment is.”
O’Connor concluded “The government must show some leadership on this and mandate that all workers can access paid leave from their employer to attend their vaccine appointment, as well as ensuring that should workers suffer any adverse effects they will be able to take the necessary time off without fear of being penalised. Furthermore, all workers impacted by this should join a Trade Union”