Mini-skirt ban as HSE staff face cover-up
SHORT skirts, backless tops and plunging necklines are on the Health Service Executive's fashion crimes hit list.
Health sector staff have been warned that they face disciplinary action if they show too much skin.
And any member of staff with a tattoo has been asked to cover it while at work.
An acceptable dress-code list has been drawn up by the HSE Mid-West. The 10-page document was issued to all staff at the Mid West Regional, the Croom Orthopaedic, Regional Maternity, Nenagh general and Ennis general hospitals.
Garments which reveal excessive cleavage or the midriff are banned. Backless tops and halter-necks are also not permitted in the hospitals.
And skin-tight clothing that is deemed to be too revealing will not be tolerated by the HSE.
Female staff have been warned away from any micro or mini-skirts, low-cut dresses or short tops and T-shirts.
Artificial nails, nail polish and nail jewellery are also on the HSE's list.
But the excessive focus of health sector workers clothes has been criticised by unions.
The 'draft dress code' is over the top at a time when hospital workers were under severe pressure with health sector cuts, they argue.
Andy Pike, assistant general secretary of Impact, said that the union had consulted its members and has sent a response to the HSE.
He said that no agreement has been reached at this time.
And Mr Pike said that the organisation should have directly consulted any individuals that it believed were dressed inappropriately.
"There may be one or two people with whom the HSE may have a problem with regarding dress," he said.
"Instead of dealing with these individually to ensure they dress appropriately, a whole new policy has now been drawn up.
"It is a sledge-hammer to crack a nut, at a time when we feel that all the efforts of the HSE should be focused to deal with the €30m deficit in the Mid-West hospitals," he said.
"There are better things for management to be doing."
The HSE proposes in the draft to adhere to policy on dress could result in disciplinary proceedings and ultimately dismissal.
See Sinead Ryan, page 17