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Weather charts at 11am on Monday track ex-Hurricane Ophelia at the National Emergency Coordination Centre in Dublin. Sam Boal via
storm ophelia

After some confusion, hospitals told to pay doctors and nurses who didn't go to work on Monday

There was some confusion over what employees should do in the event of national red weather warnings.

THE HSE HAS instructed its hospitals to pay nurses and doctors who were unable to work on Monday due to Storm Ophelia.

It follows reports that some hospitals had told staff that they would have to take unpaid leave on 16 October, despite a national warning from the government that people should stay indoors.

On Tuesday, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) released a statement saying that it would “not tolerate employers deducting pay or insisting that employees take annual leave”.

It said that the statement followed enquiries from its members who had raised concerns about whether or not they would be paid.

David Hughes, deputy general secretary of the Organisation said that “irresponsible small-minded deductions, on the part of employers, will entirely undermine the purpose of red weather warnings”.

Today, the HSE circulated a memo instructing hospitals to pay healthcare workers who didn’t travel to work because of the storm warnings.

The memo, seen by, says that employees who were unable to attend work for safety reasons, and those who were required to leave their work early, “will be paid for the hours which they were scheduled to work”.

Please note that those employees whose attendance at work was affected as a direct result of the unforeseen weather events are not required to take annual leave or any other form of paid leave in respect of the hours which they were unable to work.

It adds that employees who were not scheduled to attend work on 16 October or were availing of “any type of approved leave” (annual leave, study leave, sick leave, or parental leave for example) are not covered by this arrangement.

The HSE memo issued today also instructs employees who were unable to attend work on Tuesday for other reasons on foot of Storm Ophelia may be granted annual leave or unpaid leave to cover their absence.

In the early hours of Monday, there was confusion over whether employees had the right to stay at home in the event of a red weather warning and with an approaching storm on the way.

After the storm passed, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar committed to drafting guidelines to outline to businesses in the private sector what a code red alert means and how employers should deal with their employees in such a situation.

The HSE said that staff were told to consider their own personal safety as paramount and to contact their line managers if they had any doubt about their safety in travelling to work on Monday.

Speaking to, Hughes of the INMO said it was happy with the outcome.

Read: Should employees go to work during a red weather alert? Leo agrees to issue guidelines

Read: Union recommends nurses back public service pay deal to roll back recession measures

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