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TSSA - Irish Government Must Pay Special Leave For Childcare 

13 March 2020

Transport Union TSSA has today (Friday) written to Irish Transport Minister, Shane Ross, calling on the government to pick up the tab for paid leave for workers who have childcare responsibilities and to compensate transport companies in the face of measures to tackle coronavirus. 

The Taoiseach yesterday took the decision to close all schools and nurseries, putting an immediate strain on parents and forcing many of them to stay away from work. “Our members should not suffer a detriment as result of the government's decision to close down all schools and creches” says TSSA’s General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, in his letter to the Transport Minister. 

TSSA’s Irish membership is 50 per cent female and with women disproportionately likely to be primarily responsible for childcare, this group of workers is particularly affected.  

In its letter to the Minister, the union is “seeking assurances that parents within CIE companies will be given special paid leave if they can't put in place alternative childcare arrangements as long as schools and creches remain shut.” 

TSSA goes further, calling on the government to compensate CIE companies so that they can pay for special paid leave for workers. 

This intervention follows calls by TSSA yesterday that Irish Rail ensures any staff affected by the government measures receive special paid leave and are not left out of pocket as a result. 

Commenting, TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: “The government has put in place measures which will materially affect the lives of everyone across Ireland. Workers who have to take leave to cover childcare because the schools have been closed should not be out of pocket, and nor should their employers. 

“It’s vital that the government compensates companies for paid special leave so that workers are not penalised for doing the right thing during this difficult period. Without paid leave, many will simply not be able to afford to follow the advice and measures being applied by government.” 

The full text of the letter is available here: 

Minister Shane Ross, TD 

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport 

Leeson Lane, 

Dublin 2 

RE: Covid-19 (Coronavirus) 

13 March 2020 

Dear Minister, 

I am writing to you seeking assurances that parents within the CIE group of companies will be given special paid leave if they can't put in place alternative childcare arrangements as long as schools and creches remain shut. 

It's our union's view that the Government must now step up to the plate by providing CIE companies compensation to pay for special paid leave as necessary and for the fact, that public transport ridership is also being negatively affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and the measures announced yesterday by the Taoiseach to help combat it. 

Our members should not suffer a detriment as result of the government's decision to close down all schools and creches until at least 29 March or for other measures put in place to help combat the Coronavirus pandemic. 

I trust you will act swiftly on this issue. 

Yours sincerely, 

Manuel Cortes 

General Secretary 

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