Psychiatric nurses seek tax breaks for car purchases

Association wants subsidised accommodation and other assistance for nurses

 

Psychiatric nurses say they should be given tax breaks to allow them to purchase new cars for commuting as many of those working in the sector are unable to cope with accommodation costs in the State’s largest towns and cities.

In its submission to the Public Service Pay Commission, the Psychiatric Nurses’ Association (PNA) says its members should be given subsidised accommodation and higher pay as part of an effort to tackle recruitment and retention difficulties in the health service.

The organisation says rising accommodation costs have forced many nurses to live further away from their workplace, which leads to substantially increased commuting costs.

It proposed “paid car-share benefits for essential workers” where the employer would provide an allowance for car-sharing.

“We also believe that, like other jurisdictions who offer healthcare professionals a tax waiver on the purchase of new cars in order to make them more affordable, this innovative approach should also be considered by the commission. The cost of the car is deducted from an individual’s salary over the course of a five- to seven-year period,” the PNA says.

HSE accommodation

“Any new capital builds built on Health Service Executive land banks should include nursing accommodation to be offered in the first and second year of graduation/employment. (Please note the NHS plans to provide 20,000 such units in the UK).”

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe last year announced the establishment of the commission to examine how public servants’ pay can be restored following cuts over the recession years. This commission will report by the middle of the year and offer suggestions to the Government on how the financial emergency measures in the public interest (Fempi) legislation should be unwound.

Meanwhile, the prospect of industrial action by nurses increased last night after talks between the Government and unions over the recruitment and retention of staff broke down.

The Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation (INMO) said health service management would need to radically improve existing proposals to form the basis of any further discussions.

The INMO executive is to meet on Wednesday to consider whether plans for industrial action, including work stoppages, which nurses have already strongly backed in a ballot, should go ahead. It accused health service management of rowing back on a previous commitment to put in place a funded nursing workforce plan for this year.