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Members Update - 6th June 2020
Childcare Update, Infection Rates, Strike Implementation, WRC

Update issued - 

Dear Member, 

1. Childcare: We have been continuously raising childcare provision with the government since this crisis began. While we secured important wins on issues like PPE, facemasks, pay for students, and protections for pregnant workers, this remains a major unresolved issue.

We are now going to raise this directly at an Oireachtas committee next week. We want to give TDs and senators a clear understanding of the issues you have been facing. To help us do that, we are asking all members with childcare needs to fill out this quick, five-minute survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/G29P9WX

In addition, I would remind members that we have negotiated a fallback childcare policy with the HSE. The formal documents are here and here, but it essentially says that:

  • Maximum flexibility must be offered to members to allow them to balance childcare needs
  • If that cannot work, you can agree with your employer that you stay at home to provide care, without any impact on your pay.

If you have difficulty using these rights, please contact your local industrial relations officer.

2. Infection rates: As you may have seen in the media, we have been calling on the HSE to publish clear figures on how and where healthcare workers are becoming infected with COVID-19. This should allow us to identify problems and resolve them quickly. The HSE did not agree to our repeated requests to do this, but following a direct meeting with the Minister for Health, these figures are now being released. We are analysing the figures and will be raising them with the Minister for Health on Tuesday.

3. Strike implementation: After unacceptable delays, there’s been major progress in the past weeks in rolling out the strike settlement. Many more workplaces have now paid the higher rates, with others working on back pay now. We are pursuing the remaining employers who are lagging behind.

We have also been seeking the first meeting of the expert group to look at pay for managerial grades. The group’s membership and terms of reference have been agreed, but the first meeting was postponed due to COVID-19. The government have indicated that it will meet in July. We believe that it should meet sooner and have raised this issue at the highest levels. The Minister for Health will respond to us on on this issue on Tuesday 9th.

4. Income protection scheme: Working with insurance company Cornmarket, we have negotiated a major new offer for the income protection scheme, which pays up to 75% of your salary should you become sick or unable to work. If you apply to join the scheme before June 30th, they will give you six months free membership. Any member under 60 in public, private or agency work can apply.

The insurance scheme is entirely optional, but may provide certainty to members should they face ill health or difficulties in the future. More information is here, or you can ask them to give you a call with more information here.

5. Workplace Relations Commission: We have recently referred cases relating to COVID-19 to the Workplace Relations Commission, which is convening remotely. These cases relate to issues such as childcare costs, payment for additional hours and payment while on self-isolation, including:

  • compensation for nurses and midwives who have increased their expenditure, or used annual leave, to facilitate childcare and their attendance at work during this crisis,
  • compensation for loss of premium payments in certain types of pandemic-related leave,
  • payment for some senior nursing and midwifery managers who have worked additional hours during the pandemic and have not received payment.

Is mise le meas,

Phil Ní Sheaghda, 
General Secretary


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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie