Childcare plan for healthcare workers grants paid leave to some partners

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The partners of healthcare workers who work in the public sector are to receive paid leave in order to help with childcare needs it has been announced.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said today that the National Public Health Emergency Team has approved a measure providing paid leave to assist healthcare personnel with their childcare needs.

However this measure will only apply to healthcare workers whose partners are in the public sector, but not healthcare workers themselves.

It will be rolled out in the coming weeks Taoiseach Varadkar said today, acknowledging that this is not an “adequate answer” for families where both are healthcare workers, or one partner is in the private sector.

The HSE said earlier this week that there are roughly 7,000 healthcare workers who have been seeking some form of childcare support.

Representatives of Forsa trade union have been meeting with HSE officials for the past several weeks to try and agree on solutions for this problem, which has been increasingly highlighted as creating staffing problems in the health service.

The NPHET is also considering a proposal to have childcare workers go to the homes of healthcare workers to mind their children.

This will not come into effect now, but may be introduced from May 5 when restrictions begin to ease Taoiseach Varadkar said.