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Monday, 23rd March 2020

Government must adopt wage subsidy scheme – Nash

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Deputy Ged Nash.

Nash calls for Ireland to follow lead of Denmark and provide workers with up to 80% of their salary for duration of crisis

Drogheda TD Ged Nash has called for the government to follow the lead of States such as Denmark and guarantee the payment of up to 80% of laid-off workers wages for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

“This is entirely achievable and such a scheme has been proposed by both ICTU and IBEC, the main employer body” He said.

“Extraordinary times require an extraordinary response from Government” he added.

“We cannot afford to be penny-wise and pound-foolish, as doing so only risks turning a temporary health emergency into a prolonged economic and social crisis which will end up taking years to arrest.

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“A Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme for Workers – like those introduced in Denmark and Sweden – would save countless jobs while maintaining the full income of workers.

“After 2008, these countries proved that it’s better to support employment by maintaining the link between workers and their employer during a crisis rather than struggle to create new jobs in the aftermath, as firms won’t have to pay for finding and training new staff.

“Without this support, hundreds of thousands of workers will be forced onto state benefits and will face the added stress and anxiety of unemployment at this already difficult time.

“The Government must now conclude a deal with workers representatives and employers to develop a workable solution, as failure to act will only lead to more job losses in the coming days.”

Deputy Nash says Ireland is already lagging behind, with our fiscal response (less than 1% of GDP) to the coronavirus paling in comparison to other EU countries (over 15% of GDP in Germany, France and Spain).

“The Government has only offered piecemeal measures at the initial stage, when they should be doing everything in their power to protect people, their jobs and local businesses.

“The kind of steps we are proposing will keep people in work, protect incomes and human dignity, and support businesses by enabling them to bounce back quickly when this crisis abates thereby avoiding a deep and damaging recession.”

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