There should be more bank holidays in Ireland to meet EU standards, argues TD
The TD said extra bank holidays should be introduced not just to reward those who worked during Covid.
There should be more bank holidays in Ireland in order to meet European Union standards, according to Dublin People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith.
Her comments come following reports earlier on Friday (24 September) that a new bank holiday may be on the way as part of this year's Budget.
According to the Irish Independent, a new bank holiday and a 30c increase in the minimum wage are being considered by government as a way to reward frontline workers for their efforts during Covid-19
This would see the number of annual bank holidays rise in Ireland to 10 and the minimum wage increase to €10.50 an hour.
Asked on Newstalk's The Hard Shoulder, if she would welcome such moves, Smith said she would "absolutely".
"But I think we should see moves toward extra bank holidays in particular, not just as a compensation for Covid but rather to bring Ireland up to the average standard across the European Union," she added.
The TD pointed out that most countries in the EU have 12 annual bank holidays, compared to Ireland's current number of nine.
"We put in a bill in July that would increase the annual bank holidays to bring us up to the European average... and the government are now proposing an extra one so I think there's huge validation in arguing for more," Smith said.
She also stated that Irish workers are among the most productive in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) yet have the least statutory holidays.
"Our statutory holidays are around 21 days. In Britain, it's 28 and we have one of the lowest levels of bank holidays," the TD noted.
"So, I think that's kind of separate to the compensation that should go to the frontline workers for putting up with Covid."
Read JOE's suggestions for the five best dates for a new bank holiday in Ireland here.