HR Related COVID19 Information

The HR Suite endeavour to bring you HR related COVID news in the Republic of Ireland on a timely basis. We aim to keep the below information concise and clear for your information.

Employer Obligations

You as an employer/manager have an obligation to provide a safe and healthy place of work under Section 8 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (the “2005 Act”). This obligation obliges employers to take reasonable steps to address any health and safety risks.

EWSS

The EWSS replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) from 1 of September 2020. It is expected to continue until 31 March 2021. This is an economy-wide enterprise support that focuses primarily on business eligibility. The scheme provides a flat-rate subsidy to qualifying employers based on the numbers of eligible employees on the employer’s payroll and gross pay to employees.

Facemasks

On 10 August 2020, public health laws made face coverings mandatory for customers in certain settings and in workplaces where 2 metres distance cannot be guaranteed. How are you monitoring this in your workplace? Have you amended policies to state your employee requirements? How should employees address this with customers/suppliers? Contact The HR Suite to implement a Face Covering Policy and have a standardised approach within your business.

Government travel Greenlist

The Government travel Greenlist was published on 21 July 2020 and allowed travel to specific countries, without the need for a two week quarantine period on return. This list is now redundant as the Government has implemented the new ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel, which applies to countries in the European Union/European Economic Area and to the UK. The Government’s current advice for travel to these countries is to “exercise a high degree of caution”. Its general advice for any other overseas travel remains to “avoid non-essential travel”. Within the ‘traffic lights’ system, regions across the EU, EEA and the UK are categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A map showing the designation of each regions is published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.

Illness Benefit

The COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit of €350 per week was introduced to deal with COVID19 illness where told to self- isolate or restrict movements. This scheme is extended until 31 March 2021.

Link between PUP and EWSS

The EWSS is being amended to align with the amendment to PUP. This means here will be 5 payment rates/bands as follows: €0, €203, €250, €300, €350 in line with earnings. The main aim of this scheme is to ensure where possible employees retain their link with their employer rather than become unemployed. This revised scheme will run to end January 2021.

PUP

Pandemic Unemployment Payment to be returned to €350 for workers previously earning over €400 a week from Tuesday 27 October 2020. There will now be four different rates of payment depending on previous earnings: €203, €250, €300, €350.

Reinforcement in the Workplace

It is critically important to engage in ongoing communication to reinforce training of the return to work protocols to ensure you remain proactive in ensuring the health and safety of your team as we progress in our understanding and workplace management of COVID19.

Return to Work Safely Protocol

The Government published the Return to Work Safely Protocol on 9 May 2020 designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID19 in the workplace when the economy begins to slowly open up, following the temporary closure of most businesses during the worst phases of the current pandemic. In principle, you as an employer/manager must take all necessary and appropriate measures to protect the health of your workers.

Click here for more information on how The HR Suite can assist your organisation.

Suspension of the Right to Redundancy

The suspension of redundancy provisions relating to temporary lay-off and short-time work, which arose as a result of COVID-19, is now continuing until 31 March 2021.