WelCom March 2021
The Wellington Archdiocese Ecology, Justice and Peace (EJP) Commission made a written submission to Parliament supporting the proposal to increase sick leave.
The Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Bill is being considered by the Education and Workforce Select Committee. If passed, it will double the minimum amount of sick leave available to workers from five to ten days a year.
The EJP Commission’s submission says it benefits everyone in society when sick people do not go to work. ‘We agree with the intention of this bill to ensure anyone who is unwell, especially during a time of pandemic, is able to stay at home from work.’
The commission submitted that increased sick leave, especially for essential workers, is an important tool to overcome the challenges of the Covid-19 virus, as well as other pandemics likely to occur in a globalised world.
In Pope Francis’ message for the 29th World Day of the Sick on 11 February, the Holy Father urges a path of healing grounded in a trusting and interpersonal relationship between the sick and those who care for them. ‘A society is all the more human to the degree that it cares effectively for its most frail and suffering members, in a spirit of fraternal love,’ he said.
In order to fight hypocrisy and self-idolatry, he says, Jesus asks us to ‘stop and listen, to establish a direct and personal relationship with others, to feel empathy and compassion, and to let their suffering become our own as we seek to serve them.’
Pope Francis said the experience of illness makes us all realise our own vulnerability and innate need of each other. ‘The current pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in our healthcare systems and exposed inefficiencies in the care of the sick,’ he said. ‘Investing resources in the care and assistance of the sick is a priority linked to the fundamental principle that health is a primary common good.’
The Catholic Church marks the annual day on 11 February, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Instituted by Pope St John Paul II on 13 May 1992, the first World Day of the Sick was marked the following year. The theme of this year’s observance is, ‘You have but one teacher and you are all brothers’ (Mt 23:8), which calls for ‘a trust-based relationship to guide care for the sick’.
EJP Commission submission on Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Bill: tinyurl.com/EJP-Sick-Leave
Pope Francis Message for the World Day of the Sick 2021: tinyurl.com/Pope-World-Day-of-Sick