Coronavirus Employment Update 15/5/2020

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 15 May 2020
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Issues covered:

Importance of including People with Disabilities in COVID-19 Response

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions Disability Committee met online recently to discuss the importance of the inclusion of people with disabilities in the COVID-19 responses related to the World of Work.  The meeting highlighted the need to continue to combat prejudice and encourage inclusivity among Workers with Disabilities.   The crisis lays bare the inequalities exacerbating COVID-19’s impact on persons with disabilities and the Committee stressed that we must be vigilant in ensuring that the response to the current crisis does not leave persons with disabilities behind once again.

The Committee agreed to sign up to a joint statement by a number of civil society and human rights groups in Ireland, calling on all state actors to adhere to their obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which Ireland ratified in March 2018. While the current pandemic is impacting on all members of society the UN Rapporteur on Disability has identified persons with disabilities as vulnerable during this global health pandemic and outlines a number of issues to be addressed.  More from ICTU:

Guidance for Employers implementing a redundancy selection process in the wake of COVID-19

In this article, Sheila Spokes and Bláthnaid Evans from the Employment Team at Leman Solicitors provide guidance for employers on some of the key considerations when implementing redundancies and in particular, outlines how to ensure a redundancy selection process is conducted in a fair and objective manner.

COVID-19 and Gender Discrimination

One of the most noticeable things about COVID-19 Is how successful women leaders have been during this crisis, often described as decisive, firm and effective. Several of the leaders are actively parenting children as well as running their countries so it would be nice to believe that this would put the nail in the double coffin of workplace gender and family status discrimination, particularly that insistent strain of it which seems to present itself when employees get pregnant and/or return from maternity leave.  This excellent article and podcast from CC Solicitors discusses the impact of Covid-19 on gender discrimination.



40% Of Ryanair Flights To Resume From July 1

Ryanair is to resume operating up to 40% of its normal flight schedule from July 1.  The move is subject to restrictions on flights between EU countries being lifted and public health measures being put in place in airports.  In total the airline says it will run nearly 1,000 flights across 90% of the network it was operating prior to the Covid-19 crisis beginning.  The operations will take place from most of the company's 80 bases across Europe, although frequencies will be lower than previously on main routes.  This is to allow the airline get services back up and running on the largest possible number of routes, rather than high frequency on a smaller number.

More from RTE:

Minister Flanagan Announces Further Temporary Extension Of Immigration Permissions 

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., has announced that immigration permissions, due to expire between 20 May and 20 July 2020, will be automatically extended for two months.  This includes people in Ireland on short stay visas and those whose permissions have already been extended by the previous notice issued on 20th March, 2020.  More here:

Holding Board Meetings In A Time Of Social Distance

Maria Walsh and Aidan Burke, RDJ, consider some practical guidelines for directors of Irish companies to limit disruption to board meetings and continue with essential governance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Update on Covid-19 Payments

Earlier this week, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection issued payments valued at €206.3m to 589,000 people in respect of their application for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). Around 8,700 people are receiving a payment for the first time. This is a reduction of 9.000 on the number of people paid at the same point last week.

There are now over 53,000 employers who have registered with the Revenue Commissioners for the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) with at least one subsidy being paid in respect of 456,200 people under that scheme. The number of employees supported at least once under the TWSS has increased from 427,400 as at 30 April.  More here:

Small Business Fund Launched 

60% of companies who have engaged with Enterprise Ireland’s Business Response Unit since March say that Covid-19 has had a very negative or critical impact on their business to date.  Financial planning was listed as one of the key priorities identified by client companies in responding to the crisis. 34 percent of the client companies in contact have engaged with a financial institution, and one in three have put a financial plan in place. 

As part of the Sustaining Enterprise Fund recently announced by the Government, Enterprise Ireland announced earlier this week, that it will administer a specific Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprises.  This fund will provide a €25k to €50k short term funding injection to eligible smaller companies to support business continuity and to strengthen their ability to return to growth. Eligible companies will have suffered, or be projected to suffer, a 15 percent or more reduction in actual or projected turnover or profit as a result of COVID-19 outbreak.  More here: 

Cost of PPE to Tackle Virus Over €1bn Per Year

Chief Executive of the HSE Paul Reid has said there is uncertainty about what will happen next with Covid-19, and that is a challenge for the HSE and for the country.   Speaking at the HSE's weekly Covid-19 briefing, Mr Reid said the HSE had to make sure the capacity of the Irish health care system was not "maxed out" and there needed to be focus on vulnerable groups in particular.   He warned that the cost of setting up a long-term testing and tracing system would be very significant and on a scale nobody could have foreseen a few months ago.  

He said testing and tracing was a key part of helping to unlock restrictions in society.  He said the cost of supplying personal protective equipment for the Irish healthcare system would be €1 billion per year. However, he said the cost of not investing in testing, tracing and PPE could be much higher. More from RTE:

Unemployment Rate Jumps To Record High

The unemployment rate for April, as measured by the Covid-19 adjusted measure, jumped to a new record high of 28.2%, new figures from the Central Statistics Office shown earlier in the week.  The CSO said the Covid-19 crisis continued to have a significant impact on the labour market here in April.  The new Covid-19 Adjusted Unemployment rate rose sharply to 28.2% from 15.5% in March.  More here: 

Leaving Cert Developments

The executives of the country's two second-level teacher unions met last week to consider the implications of a newly-devised 'calculated grades' system that will replace this year's cancelled summer Leaving Certificate exams.  All students have been given the option of sitting written Leaving Certificate exams at a later date, as yet undetermined, should they choose.  Students will also be able to appeal the grades they are given.   More from RTE:

Opening Schools is "Among the Safest Things" to Do

The Taoiseach has said that the emerging evidence suggests that reopening schools and childcare facilities over the next couple of months is "among the safest things" to do.  However, he said that it needed to be done so safely.  Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said he was not anticipating any changes to the planned return to school for children and that no consideration had, as yet, been given to the wearing of face coverings in classrooms.  Speaking at a contact tracing centre in Dublin city centre, Leo Varadkar said there is growing evidence that children are the least risk from the virus and that they do not appear to be super spreaders.  More from RTE:

Or is it?

The BBC had an interesting article this week about a new illness in children being linked to coronavirus. Scores of UK and US children have been affected by a rare inflammatory disease linked to coronavirus.  A number of children have also been diagnosed with the disease - which can cause symptoms similar to toxic shock syndrome - elsewhere in Europe.  Up to 100 UK children have been affected. Some have needed intensive care while others recovered quickly.  In April, NHS doctors were told to look out for a rare but dangerous reaction in children.  This was prompted by eight children becoming ill in London, including a 14-year-old who died.  Doctors said all eight children had similar symptoms when they were admitted to Evelina London Children's Hospital, including a high fever, rash, red eyes, swelling and general pain.  More here:


This article is correct at 15/05/2020

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