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Illness benefit to increase to €305 per week during coronavirus outbreak

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ICTU general secretary Patricia King. Photo: Damien Eagers

ICTU general secretary Patricia King. Photo: Damien Eagers

ICTU general secretary Patricia King. Photo: Damien Eagers

WORKERS will get higher illness benefit pay during the coronavirus outbreak, a senior union official has revealed.

Leaving a meeting with officials at government buildings, Ictu general secretary Patricia King said immediate and higher payments would be made as a temporary measure.

She said a lead in period of six days before the state payment is made is set to go, while the €203 a week payment will be increased by a "fair bit more".

It has now been confirmed that the payment will rise to €305 a week.

This will be for a maximum period of two weeks of medically certified self-isolation, or for the duration of a person’s medically-certified absence from work due to Covid-19 diagnoses, the government confirmed.

However,she would not say by how much as the government will be briefing on the details shortly.

Currently, employees cannot claim illness benefit for the first six days off.

Ms King said the measures will require legislation and the current Illness Benefit system altered.

She said businesses with tight profit margins may get supplementary payments.

"I think they seen to be operating on the basis of trying to prevent layoffs and people losing their jobs " she said.

"This is a public health emergency."

She said there will be an improvement to benefit payments but employers with sick leave schemes will be expected to pay in the first instance.

"Where they can't, it's talking about supplementing current sick leave arrangements, current sick leave pay and so on to try to ensure people's income is not interrupted."

She said the measures are designed to ensure that employees can afford to take the public health advice and employers supported where they need to be.

"Not all of them need to be," she added. "I think a lead in of five to six days will go," she added, referring to current Illness Benefit arrangements.

More to follow...

Online Editors