News & Media

Workers must be accommodated when getting vaccine

19 July 2021

Statement by Senator Marie Sherlock
Seanad Whip and Spokesperson on Employment Affairs, Media, Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht

Following reports that certain shops of a large retailer are not facilitating workers’ vaccine appointments, Labour employment spokesperson Marie Sherlock said that businesses must facilitate staff when an appointment arises. Senator Sherlock called on Government to specifically appeal to employers to help protect employees, customers and society at large.

Senator Sherlock said:

“It is really alarming to hear reports that certain stores belonging to a large Irish retailer are not facilitating employees’ vaccination appointments when they arise. This is deeply concerning when we know the key role that vaccination has played in getting workers back to their jobs and gradually reopening the economy.

“Any worker who wants to take the vaccine must be facilitated to do so for the safety of businesses and communities at large. From a practical point of view, failure to provide paid time off may lead to a situation where employees may be forced to push out their vaccination date, leaving workers waiting longer for protection against the virus.   

“The mood of the nation has been lifted this week with great photographs of people out enjoying the sunshine and supporting businesses in their communities. With the return of international travel and the potential return of indoor dining, workers are under huge pressure to be in work without taking any time off. Despite this, there is a need for all businesses to accommodate their staff and give employees the time off required for their vaccine appointment when it arises.

“Furthermore, if any worker happens to suffer an adverse reaction which occurs in small number of cases, then employer must ensure worker is looked after during this time. Taking the vaccine is important not only individual in question but also the business they work for. 

“I note the Tanáiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment is out this week talking about the changes he wants to promote in this Budget for those working from home. Yet we have heard little or nothing in recent times by way of appeal to the employers of those who have to physically go out to work to ensure those employees are facilitated in getting vaccinated.

"If and when an employee gets their vaccine appointment, they must be facilitated.”