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Thursday, 21st May 2020

Munster calls for women on maternity leave to be included in Wage Subsidy Scheme

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Deputy Imelda Munster.

Local Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster, has written to the Minister for Finance, calling on him to act speedily to instruct the Revenue Commissioners to amend the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) to ensure that women on maternity leave can avail of the scheme once their maternity leave comes to an end.

Last weekend Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD wrote to the Taoiseach and other party leaders to get cross-party agreement on a mechanism to end the exclusion of women returning from maternity leave from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. 

Deputy Munster said: "Maternity leave is a protected payment designed to prevent women from falling into poverty as a result of taking leave from work to have a baby. Under the current terms of the TWSS the state is failing to adequately provide for women returning to work who were on maternity leave on 29th February, and therefore were not on their employer's payroll.

 “It is absolutely unacceptable that women returning from maternity leave are being excluded from the TWSS, which is an essential component of economic recovery and protecting incomes during this time of crisis. 

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"This can be sorted out very easily - but the Minister for Finance has to take action to instruct the Revenue Commissioners to change this measure.

"The Minister for Finance can make this change on an administrative basis without immediately amending the legislation. In fact he already changed the scheme without legislation when the temporary weekly subsidy was increased from 70% to 85% in April.

"I am asking that he uses the same mechanism now to allow the Revenue Commissioners to extend the TWSS to women who are returning from maternity leave.

"Women on maternity leave need clarity and they need to know that they will be able to receive payments they are entitled to under the scheme once their maternity leave ends.

"They have the same entitlement as any other worker in this state, and the government needs to take action on this immediately.

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