A new extra bank holiday is being considered to reward frontline staff for their work during the pandemic.
Part of the package includes a 30c increase in the minimum wage as part of the Budget measures.
This could mean that the number of annual bank holidays may increase to ten while the minimum wage may increase to €10.50.
This comes as the government examines a range of measures to reward workers who worked on the frontline during lockdowns.
This news also comes amid tensions over a pandemic bonus for thousands of workers, which would cost the taxpayer €1 billion.
It was hoped that this bonus could be offered to frontline workers, however, it was feared that this measure would pit worker against worker while seeking recognition for their efforts during the lockdowns.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar suggested that the payment should be made available to more than just health workers, stating that Revenue staff and other civil servants deserve the payment too.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath stated that this plan would spiral off from the original estimate of €377 million to €1 billion.
Labour leader Alan Kelly accused the government of going back on long-standing promises of special rewards for workers.
Leo Varadkar has insisted that the government remains committed to the Covid-19 bonus stating; “We will engage with the unions and worker representatives around recognition bonus for staff who did the extra mile, went out of their way, during the pandemic.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin stated that he wants to reflect the contribution many people made during the pandemic in the Budget, including retail workers.
“It will be challenging, but that is something that we are working towards,”.
IMAGE – “File:Dáil Éireann – Election of Taoiseach – 27 June 2020 (50051632532).jpg” by Houses of the Oireachtas from Ireland is licensed under CC BY 2.0