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It is understood Harris is holding the Government's position on the increases until a new enterprise minister is appointed. Alamy Stock Photo
Sick Leave

Simon Harris expected to press pause on expanding sick leave as part of business support plan

Opposition TDs have accused Fine Gael of being “anti-worker”.

INCOMING TAOISEACH SIMON Harris is expected to press pause on extending paid sick leave next year, in a move criticised today by Opposition politicians as “anti-worker”.

The government had previously promised to increase statutory sick leave from five to seven days from January 2025 and to 10 days from January 2026.

It’s understood that Harris is considering holding off on expanding sick leave due to concerns about the extra costs this would impose on business.

The Government is planning to put in place new supports for businesses, including through changes to employers’ PRSI before the next budget. A new Enterprise Minister is set to be appointed as part of Harris’s reshuffled cabinet, after incumbent Simon Coveney stepped aside.

Opposition politicians criticised the mooted change of policy on sick pay, first reported in The Irish Times, with People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith saying Harris was “making it clear once again that Fine Gael and this Government are on the side of big business and are anti-workers”.

people-before-profits-brid-smith-td-at-the-launch-of-their-alternative-budget-document-outside-leinster-house-in-dublin-picture-date-friday-october-6-2023 People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith accused Simon Harris of being anti-worker. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Smith said her party had warned at committee level that a failure to commit to the planned increases would allow Government to “renege on its promises”.

Labour TD Ged Nash said Fine Gael was undermining its own previous promises to “make work pay”.

Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly said that while new supports for business were needed, these could not be at the expense of workers’ rights. 

Additional reporting by Valerie Flynn and Christina Finn.

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