In Brief: Important Updates from March 2020

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 6 April 2020
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Advice, rules and available resources on what to do about Covid-19 seem to change so quickly at the moment that we think it might be an idea to put everything for employers and HR professionals in one place.

So, for this month’s In Brief article we have brought together what we feel are the best resources to help aid in your understanding of the employment implications of the Coronavirus. 

Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme will be operated by Revenue and enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer. The scheme is expected to last 12 weeks from 26 March 2020.  The Temporary Wage Subsidy replaces the previous Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme and provides for a significant increase in the €203 per employee payment that previously applied. Revenue Guidance is available here.  As ever, Ronan Daly Jermyn has excellent guidance on all employment-related coronavirus developments, including the wage subsidy scheme and consideration of what an ‘essential service’ is and what this means for employers and employees.

We’ll also be holding a webinar with Leman Solicitors and PKF Accountants later this week to discuss the COVID-19 Employment Related Schemes in Ireland. Register here.

Data Protection

Ensuring that adherence to Data Protection Legislation is maintained during remote working is essential and this short article from Victoria Logan, Allstate, is a useful reminder of the key things to consider in staying Cyber aware.  The Data Protection Commissioner has a lot of useful guidance for staying on top of data protection measures including, Data Protection Tips for Video-conferencing and Staying safe online during a pandemic.

Remote Working

As many employees adapt to working from home and getting to grips with the many communication platforms available to stay in touch, its worth remembering some do’s and don’ts of video conferencing, over and above the DPC’s advice on safety. 

Most of us are using video to stay in touch with colleagues and this article from the BBC provides a cautionary reminder of what not to do while on a video call - The Pitfalls of Conference Video Calls.  

Karl O’Connor, OCN Coaching Champions Ltd outlines 7 top tips for success in managing and motivating workers who are working remotely.  John Hogan from Leman Solicitors discusses the reality of working from home during the Coronavirus lockdown and what that means for how we conduct business.   Gerry McMahon considers the implications of the Coronavirus for HR including remote working. Caroline McEnery, HR Suite, also discusses tips for managing remote working in our recent webinar series.

The CIPD has a plethora of coronavirus-related articles, including items on how to make your team thrive and getting the most from remote working. The site also has a large FAQ section and factsheet on coronavirus. CIPD members are entitled to 20 free calls to the CIPD helpline

Employment Permits

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has implemented a contingency plan to ensure that the Employment Permit system will continue to operate in all scenarios. This includes issuing permits electronically and new online procedures for applying for “Stamp 4 letters of support”.  The full contingency arrangements are available here.   RDJ provides some guidance on the contingency arrangements here.

Staying Up to Date and Getting Sound Advice

The Covid-19 advice continues to be fluid. Indeed, it now looks as though humans may be able to pass the virus onto animals

RTÉ has a very good section on its website devoted to coronavirus updates

The Government posts its updates through the Merrion Street News Room site

There is no doubt that we are heading for an economic shock and for many that shock has already occurred. For the latest updates on economic forecasts, keep an eye on the Central Bank’s website

Working with trade unions is very important and ICTU has a lot of useful information and positive ideas, mainly aimed at employees or unemployed workers, on its website

Should employees need independent advice on their rights, it should come as no surprise that the top four most popular sections on the Citizens Information website all relate to coronavirus and individual rights

As well as its Merrion Street press releases, anyone can find the government’s latest advice on covid-19 changes on the website

Laws do change, as this item from the WRC notes:

Section 29 of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 has temporarily suspended the provisions of Section 12 of the Redundancy Payments Act 1967 from 13 March 2020 until 31 May 2020. This means that the right to seek a redundancy payment by reason of lay-off or short-time does not apply to any Covid-19 related lay-offs which occur between 13 March and 31 May 2020.

However, at the time of writing, the online enquiry service from the WRC was temporarily unavailable.  They ask that you contact the WRC dedicated Infoline at 1890 80 80 90 for assistance and employment legislation information.

Leman Solicitors

Our friends at Leman Solicitors want to help out in the national effort during these difficult days.  Every one of their lawyers is giving a Helping Hour for free each day to take calls or emails from businesses needing a legal steer – whether it is a contractual issue, an employee concern, a lease query – anything at all.  They have the expertise and they want to help:  No obligation at all.  Please feel free to contact them with any queries, as they would be delighted to assist any Legal Island customers. Each of Leman Solicitors lawyers is contactable by email and by phone at 01 6393000, which is redirecting to their mobile phones. We’ll also be holding a webinar with Leman Solicitors and PKF Accountants later this week.  Register here.

Finally, at Legal Island we have a dedicated coronavirus section on our website, where you will find all the latest articles, webinars and updates on employment-related issues surrounding the virus

We probably didn’t capture all of the relevant websites and information available, so let us know if you think there are better resources out there that we’ve missed, and we’ll update our information and will circulate to customers.

Stay safe.



This article is correct at 06/04/2020

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

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