Coronavirus Employment Update 1/5/2020

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 1 May 2020
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Legal Island Coronavirus Resource Section

You find all our latest articles, webinars and more relating to coronavirus and employment on our covid-19 section on our employment law hub: 

RDJ Coronavirus Hub

Ronan Daly Jermyn have been particularly active in issuing guidance on covid-19 and employment issues. You'll find lots of useful guidance material on all things Covid-19 on the RDJ website.

On 14th May we'll be hosting a webinar with Jennifer Cashman from RDJ on the HR and employment implications of employees returning to work following the pandemic. Register for the webinar here:

85% of Businesses have Scaled Back or Closed Due to Covid-19 

A survey of over 1,300 businesses across the country has found that 85% have either scaled back or closed completely as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions. The research, carried out earlier this week by Chambers Ireland, also found that half of firms expect an immediate loss of revenue in excess of 60%, with smaller businesses affected most. More than half of the companies that responded to the survey said they have now either reduced their activity or shut their front of house operations with staff now working from home. More from RTÉ:

Return to Work Protocol

A protocol including detailed plans of how businesses will reopen is being worked on by Government, unions and businesses in conjunction with the Health and Safety Authority.  It will include strict guidelines for employers on key issues such as social distancing in the workplace and what steps they are expected to take to ensure employee and, where relevant, customer safety on their premises.  As well as social distancing, it will cover areas such as the availability of washing facilities and guidelines for the cleaning of workplaces.

The protocol will also look at the area of travel to and from work, with a key goal being the avoidance of peak-time crowds on public transport.  Employers will be expected to keep staff working from home where possible, certainly in the early months of reopening. Employers will also be told that they need to be flexible in starting and finishing times as a further measure to avoid peak-time crushes on
public transport. Employees will be told that they should not travel to work in full cars.  Employees will be given a way to raise concerns if they feel their employer is not providing a safe workplace.  More from the Irish Times:

More than 427,000 workers now on wage subsidy scheme

More than 427,000 workers are now having their wages subsidised by the Government under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, according to the latest figures published by the Revenue Commissioners. More than 50,900 employers have registered for the TWSS with the Revenue Commissioners, who administer the scheme. Of those, 43,000 have already received subsidy payments. More from RTÉ:

How To: Meet Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Legal Obligations in the COVID-19 Era

Dr Gerry McMahon discusses an employers obligations under health and safety legislation and the particular implications this has for employers as workplaces start to reopen over the next few weeks and months.

8 Steps to Remote Employee Onboarding for Employers in Ireland (with examples!)

Morgan McKinley have produced a very handy guide for inducting new employees who are forced to work remotely in the current situation. It has a very neat video and 8 suggestions to maximise a good start for a new start. As they say themselves, "It’s likely you already have the facilities we discuss below in place, you just need to plan it all out...and once you’ve got it sorted, we have a hunch you’ll see your retention rates improve as a result!" It's well worth a look if you are currently recruiting staff or might be in the near future:

Women Returning from Maternity Leave Excluded from TWSS – ICTU Concerns

Businesses that are open also face problems and ICTU has highlighted one particular area of concern from workers - irregularities in the temporary wage subsidy scheme in relation to women returning from maternity leave.

New Facebook Messenger Video Chat Room

The must be feeling the pressure from the rise of Zoom but Facebook has launched a new free video chatroom platform through Messenger that might be worth checking out:

Post-Pandemic Labour Market Meeting

The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Ms. Regina Doherty, this week attended the first meeting of the new Labour Market Advisory Council she established just before the recent General Election. The Council, chaired by Mr. John Martin, met with the Minister, with the meeting being held remotely to comply with social distancing guidelines.

The Council has been set up to provide advice to the Minister and the Government with regard to the labour force participation rates, minimising unemployment levels and reducing average unemployment durations. The Council will publish its findings on a periodic basis and, crucially, against the ongoing backdrop of the COVID-19 emergency will now also advise on the wider labour market and employment policy challenges that face the Irish economy in the post-pandemic recovery period.

NUIG and Western Development Commission Launch National Survey On Remote Working

Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission (WDC) have launched a national survey to gather data on employees’ experiences of remote working in these unprecedented times. More:

Self-Employed Air Crew Have Reduced Employment Rights

In a statement issued this week, the European Cockpit Association said that with aviation effectively grounded due to the Covid-19 virus, airlines and employment agencies have told thousands of aviation personnel that their employment agreement is terminated and that their last salary may not be paid.  The ECA estimates that almost 20% of pilots in Europe operate on precarious contracts, or working through a temporary work agency as supposedly self-employed.  More here from RTÉ:

Update On Payments Awarded For COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment And Enhanced Illness Benefit

Earlier this week the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection issued payments valued at €207 million to 591,000 people in respect of their application for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Around 21,000 are receiving a payment for the first time.  More here:


This article is correct at 01/05/2020

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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