The HSE has defended the policy in place in Kerry General Hospital
After this week's reports concerning medical salary 'top-ups', a hospital is in the headlines again for a financial policy, although this time it's a very different type of payment.
It has been reported that staff at Kerry General Hospital are being charged to boil water in the canteen. There's a charge of 50 cent for the water when workers bring their own tea bags or coffee to work.
The HSE has defended the policy, saying it was introduced to stop people trying to avoid paying for tea or coffee.
Although it is likely to prove an unacceptable charge for many observers, there are several potential reasons these kind of policies might be introduced by organisations and companies. If caterers operate a canteen in the workplace, hot drinks would act as a significant source of income, and the caterers, staff and employers alike may have contractually agreed that the canteen will provide workers with tea & coffee. They could struggle to break even when more and more workers are making their own hot drinks.
The debate will undoubtedly seem 'a storm in a tea cup' for many workers themselves: many workplaces have long operated communal 'tea & coffee' funds for anyone who wishes to contribute. Another potential argument is that tea & coffee are unnecessary 'luxuries', and that 50 cent is likely a fraction of even canteen charges.
However, others would suggest the cost of boiling water is small (albeit small charges that can accumulate in busy workplaces), and that these kind of policies are an unnecessary extra burden on workers already struggling to make financial ends meet. Boiling water, tea and coffee as 'luxuries' could be considered a policy too far.
Do you think it's reasonable for employers to ask staff to pay for boiling water? Is it a charge too far, or a sensible cost-cutting measure for employers? Have you ever been in a workplace with similar policies? Vote in our poll and leave your comments below.