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Extra bank holiday to form part of Government’s response to pandemic bonus

Erik G

AN ADDITIONAL BANK holiday is expected to form part of the Government’s pandemic bonus but an exact date has not yet been confirmed.

There has been talk of an additional day off for months as a way for the Government to thank the public for its efforts during the crisis. 

The date for the holiday has not yet been decided or discussed at Cabinet level. However, it is “almost certain” to be a major part of the state response to mark the work of many in the pandemic, sources have told this publication.

It will be decided and announced at some point in October, possibly on Budget day on 12 October.

There were some suggestions that any extra day could be tacked on to the Christmas days off but this idea was opposed by many in Government who preferred it to be a standalone day off. 

The idea of Ireland having an extra bank holiday to boost the tourism sector has been mooted for several months and was also raised in a recent report on how to boost tourism.

The Tourism Recovery Plan from the Tourism Recovery Taskforce said among its recommendations that an additional bank holiday in the off-peak season should be considered.

Away from talk of a bank holiday, a deal is currently being struck to give healthcare workers an additional Covid bonus. 

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Public expenditure minister Michael McGrath today the cost of granting ten days additional leave to healthcare workers as recognition of their work during the pandemic would cost the State over €1 billion.

A Labour Court recommendation issued last Monday estimated that the direct cost of granting the leave would be around €377 million. However, McGrath said that once overtime and agency staff brought in to cover the days are taken into the account, the final figure would be “well over €1 billion”.

With reporting by Christina Finn

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