Single parenting in a pandemic: ‘I cry alone in the car so the kids don’t...

Lia Hynes

Author Ruth Gilligan: ‘I have slowly colonised our flat’s small second bedroom into my writing...

Sophie Grenham

About 400,000 women in Ireland have this condition and don’t know

IMAGE

The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Covid-19 currently has no women sitting on it. Why?

Lynn Enright

And now Dermaplaning. When will it be okay for women to have hair?

Kate Demolder

3 Mother’s Day gifts that aren’t flowers or chocolates

IMAGE

Non-colour nail polish for when you’ve finally removed your gel nails

Holly O'Neill

Lady Gaga offers reward after dog-walker shot 4 times, pets stolen

Jennifer McShane

Anne Hathaway says she was ‘ninth choice’ for one of her most iconic roles

Jennifer McShane

Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Student nurses’ pay: New bill comes to the Seanad today but Government hoping it’ll go “into the ether”

Why is the plight of student nurses being ignored by Government? A second bill to guarantee a living wage will be debated today but it has even less likelihood of passing than the first.


by Lauren Heskin
19th Feb 2021

getty

student nurses


Today, a second motion to pay Ireland’s nurses a fair wage will come to the floor of Seanad for debate. Tabled by Labour Senator Annie Hoey, the Student Nurses (Pay) Bill 2020 asks for student nurses to be paid the same rate as healthcare assistants during their training.

During the first wave of Ireland’s Covid-19 experience, Government committed to paying student nurses in line with healthcare workers for their work on the frontlines. However, that arrangement soon came to an end and since then student nurses have essentially been paying for their right to work on Ireland’s frontlines. 

As Hoey pointed out, this country has been more Covi-19 patients in the month of January than was seen through the entire of 2020 and “our student nurses and midwives worked stoically for free throughout this time,” she said.

The first bill

Government already voted down a similar bill in December, saying that they felt student nurses were being educated on the wards rather than working. This caused uproar amongst student nurses and their qualified colleagues, who have been working side-by-side on the frontline through this pandemic.

Many felt obliged to email Health Minister Stephen Donnelly directly asking him to explain exactly how their experiences in the hospitals around Ireland during the pandemic did not qualify as “work”. Seen by The Journal under the Freedom of Information Act, many spoke of the 13-plus-hour shifts without a break and their sometimes harrowing experiences during this pandemic when student nurses are themselves paying to paper over the gaping holes in Ireland’s poorly staffed hospitals.

The second bill

However, this second bill is slightly different as it is a private members’ bill and has far less chance of making it into law compared to the People Before Profit motion in December. This might explain why Cabinet agreed to let it pass into the next stage of the Seanad debate, wanting to avoid bad press for voting against a second bill to pay wages while hoping it gets waterlogged in the Seanad. When asked why they were not voting against it in the Seanad, Government press secretary said by not opposing it, the private members’ bill “goes into the ether”.

In January, Government agreed to pay student nurses €100 a week, which was heavily criticised as inadequate by the opposition. At the same time, they approved an €81,000 per year increase for the next Secretary-General of the Department of Health.

Leo Vradakar said they are reviewing student nurses’ pay, but it will not be available until September 2021 at the earlier, when many hope the country will be on the other side of this extended health emergency. For now, hopes lie on this bill in the Seanad. It must pass through five stages of debate, scrutiny and editing, first the Seanad and then the Dáil, and then both houses must approve it before it becomes law.

 

Also Read

premium BUSINESS, IMAGE WRITES, REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
Does Only Fans take advantage of women’s economic precarity? Or give back financial power?

Finn McRedmond asks, should we raise concern over a business model that thrives on the economically vulnerable?

By Finn McRedmond

BUSINESS, PARENTHOOD
How the flexibility of remote working prompted these mums to return to the workplace

There is no doubt the Covid crisis has increased the...

By Amanda Cassidy

AGENDA
‘I was blown away by the camera and picture quality’: Florist Joeanna Caffrey on the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G

It’s not just a new device, it’s a whole new...

By IMAGE

IMAGE WRITES
Tippi Hedren: “I was never one to make people say, ‘Oh my god, look at her!'”

Actress Tippi Hedren captivated moviegoers with her luminous beauty and...

By Jennifer McShane

BREAKING STORIES
Enniskillen woman becomes first in the world to receive Pfizer vaccine for Covid-19

Margaret Keenan has lived in Coventry in the UK for...

By Erin Lindsay

Doireann Ní Ghríofa
IMAGE WRITES
Doireann Ní Ghríofa: “Lockdown has been a good reminder of how important the arts are”

The one industry most severely impacted by Covid-19 is the...

By Meg Walker

Evan Rachel Wood, AOC,FKA Twigs
premium IMAGE WRITES, HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
From Evan Rachel Wood to the survivors of mother & baby homes, we must listen to women’s testimony

What happens when we demand stories of women but don't listen to or respect the answers? Lynn Enright on the power of women's testimony, and how historically — in Ireland especially — it has been ignored.

By Lynn Enright

premium AGENDA, SELF
Does remote work put younger workers at a disadvantage?

Edaein O'Connell speaks to three young professionals about the impact working from home has had on their careers

By Edaein OConnell