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Wednesday 21 February 2018

Kenny signals shift on sick-pay plans

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny signalled yesterday that he was going to significantly water-down plans by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton to make employers pay for workers' sick leave.

It came after warnings from employers that passing on the cost could force struggling businesses to lay off employees.

Just two days after the beginning of Ms Burton's consultation process, Mr Kenny told the Dail that he did not want anything that would put obstacles in the way of employers.

He twice singled out the public sector as the source of the biggest absenteeism problems.

"There is little absenteeism in the small- and medium-enterprise sector and persons who are ill are genuinely out sick," he said.

Mr Kenny's remarks echo those of IBEC, which said it was opposed to contributing to the cost of sick pay -- and suggested that the public-sector absenteeism was the issue to tackle.

Ms Burton could save €89m from her department's budget if private and public-sector employers had to pay for the first four weeks of sick leave.

A spokeswoman for Ms Burton was asked about Mr Kenny's apparent support for imposing sick leave costs on public-sector employers.

She said it would be a more appropriate question for Mr Kenny to address.

Irish Independent

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