HSE and voluntary hospital staff who were unable to get to work because of storm Emma earlier this year will not have to use annual leave for the days lost. Fórsa and other unions have also negotiated time-off-in-lieu for those who did attend, and recognition for those who worked additional hours.
The measures, agreed between unions and the HSE, will also apply in ‘section 38’ voluntary hospitals. An official circular is expected to issue shortly.
The extreme weather event, which hit Ireland at the end of February, prompted Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to advise workers to stay at home unless they absolutely had to work.
The agreement will see a day’s paid emergency leave for each of three days (28th February to 2nd March) for those who could not attend work. Those who attended on these days will get one days’ time-off-in-lieu (TOIL) for each day they were at work.
Those who went to work before their shift started, after being requested to do so by management, will receive modest payments, as will those who stayed on site to help after their shifts ended.
The circular will also cover those who worked above their rostered hours or were required by their management to book accommodation.
Fórsa’s intervention last February led to an early commitment from health minister Simon Harris that staff would not lose annual leave if they were forced to miss work because of the snow.
The union will be seeking to apply the same measures in ‘section 39’ agencies, although agreement will have to be sought in each individual organisation.
In the meantime, a joint-management working group is to be established to agree a protocol for dealing with similar extreme weather events in future.
Read the full details here.