Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Small Business John McGuinness TD has said the proposal by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton to force businesses to contribute to the cost of sick pay proves the incoherence of the Government’s job creation policy. 

Deputy McGuinness said: “Landing businesses with illness benefit costs of between €23m and €89m and expecting it to have no impact on jobs is utter lunacy.  This Government has demonstrated a worrying lack of understanding of the issues facing real businesses across the country and little sense of what they need to succeed and grow.  Businesses need fewer burdens at this time, not more.  

“The VAT increase and the drastic reduction in the redundancy rebate, from 60% to 15% to save €81m, have already damaged confidence in the business community.  Many businesses now feel the Government is intent on saying all the right things and implementing all the wrong policies when it comes to jobs.

Deputy McGuinness said: “The jobs crisis is the single biggest issue facing the country.  While I don’t deny that the number of workdays lost to illness is significant, the proposal from Minister Burton to shift the burden of paying for sick employees from the State to those who we are asking to actually create jobs, undermines the work that is going to on tackle the jobs crisis. 

“Fianna Fáil will engage fully and robustly in the Minister’s consultation process and I look forward to debating this issue in the Dáil.  However, given this Government’s track record, the extent of the media briefing to date suggests that Minister Burton has her mind made up and will press ahead regardless of the feedback she gets.  But she should be under no illusions, it is bad for business and bad for jobs and it should not be pursued.”