The announcement that a level 5 lockdown could be extended until late April or May has highlighted the huge pressures on people. To alleviate this, workers need far more economic support from this government.
Up to now, most support has been targeted at business and many people are suffering real hardship.
People Before Profit are now advancing a policy programme to change that. We want a solidarity tax on all profitable business and a 3% tax on the wealthiest 1% of the population to help fund these measures:
- Reinstate the €350 flat rate Pandemic Unemployment Payment. No more cuts.
- Make the payment available to all workers affected including those over 66 and those seasonally employed
- No cuts to workers earnings. Any reduction in wage subsidies by the Government must be topped up by employers, and this must be legally enforced by Revenue.
- Tax amnesty for PAYE workers hit by tax bills because of the operation wage subsidy schemes or being on the PUP
- Ensure all companies getting wage subsidies respect worker’s rights, recognise trade unions, and top up workers’ wages.
- Reinstate a complete ban on evictions during the pandemic.
- A moratorium on mortgage payments for workers laid off during Covid or placed on
- Extend fuel allowance payments to PUP and other Covid related recipients such as Covid illness benefit.
- Introduce compulsory employer-funded sick pay for all workers, especially frontline workers in meat processing, agricultural and horticultural sectors, childcare and delivery workers. Sick pay should be available also for those who must restrict their movements or quarantine even if they are not ill.
- Extend Covid illness benefit and scrap all waiting days for illness benefit cover.
- Extend the Enhanced Illness Benefit for Covid-19 beyond 10 weeks, to as long as medically necessary to protect those suffering from Post-Covid Syndrome/ “Long Covid”
- Bring in paid childcare leave for parents who have to take time off work to mind kids because of illness or covid-19 measures.
- Keep workers safe. Ensure the HSA inspects workplaces to ensure workers safety and that they close down non-essential workplaces. Fine any employer who is forcing workers into non-essential workplace or into work that can be done from home.