The frontline workers that kept the health service running through the pandemic should be given extra paid leave, according to an independent TD.
Denis Naughten is calling for hospital staff to be rewarded for all their hard work over the last four months.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, he said frontline workers have made huge sacrifices for Ireland.
“I think the healthcare staff and frontline staff across the country who risked their lives; who put their own families in jeopardy during the pandemic over the last four months need more than a round of applause,” he said.
“If it is not possible to give them a pay increase or to pay them a bonus, then the very least we should do is provide them with additional paid leave.”
Healthcare workers are already in line for a 2% pay rise as part of the renegotiation of the public sector pay deal that due later this year; however, Deputy Naughten said they need special treatment.
“The reality is that many of these people had to leave their families,” he said. “Some of them had to move out of their homes during the pandemic to ensure they didn’t cross-infect other vulnerable people in their homes and I think now is the time to actually acknowledge that work.
“The very least that should be done is they should get, at a minimum, extra paid leave.”
He said the amount of extra leave that should be offered would have to be negotiated between unions and the government.
“I think it is important that there is some mechanism found to provide some acknowledgement to the staff that have run our hospitals, run our health services and run our frontline services throughout the crisis,” he said.
You can listen back to the full interview here: