Answers on frequently asked questions to offer guidance in responding to returning to the workplace post lockdown
The spread of COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus, is an exceptional circumstance with ongoing ramifications for organisations, individuals and society on every level. As the situation continues to develop and change, the CIPD will provide updated advice, resources and guidance to support employers and people professionals in their response.
Last reviewed: 07 September 2020
September sees a number of changes to the State employment support schemes. On 1 September the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. The new scheme is open to all sectors and gives a subsidy to qualifying employers on the basis of the numbers of paid employees, including any new hires and seasonal workers. The primary qualifying criteria for the EWSS is that the employer must be able to demonstrate that, as a result of COVID-19, their business will experience a 30% reduction in turnover or customer orders between 1 July and 31 December 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.
The Pandemic Unemployment Payment rates change on 17 September. The top rate of €350 per week will fall to €300 for those whose earnings were over €300 per week prior to the pandemic. A new rate of €250 will apply for those who earned between €200 and €300, and the lower rate of €203 remains for those who earned less than €200 before COVID-19. In another development, on 17 September employees who were laid off through the pandemic will regain the right to seek redundancy from their employer in certain circumstances. If they so request, and the employer cannot guarantee 13 weeks of work within four weeks, then the employee automatically becomes entitled to redundancy. This option has been suspended since March and reduced the likelihood of employees leaving their employer when that employer had no work available.
As CIPD Ireland releases research showing that organisations are struggling with the Return to work Safely protocol, employees are concerned about childcare, health and transport. The Return to work safely protocol and health guidance still applies to workplaces, read our FAQs here, alongside any specific sectoral guidance, and compliance will be monitored by State agencies. Anyone who can work from home should continue to do so wherever possible, and not travel outside the island of Ireland.
Highlights from this page
This guide will help you plan your organisation’s next steps as lockdown measures start easing
Read our June 2020 research into how employers have responded through the COVID-19 crisis and in returning to the workplace
Redundancy is difficult not only on those being let go, but for the employees left behind – and empathy and listening are key
Read the CIPD's analysis of the Government's Roadmap announced on 1 May 2020 as the next step to responding to the Coronavirus crisis
Attend our events to connect with the CIPD, keep up to date with the issues facing HR and L&D and network with fellow professionals
Resources and guidance to help you
Click on the icons below to see a list of relevant resources.
Need more help? CIPD members can call our Employment Law Helpline on 1800 812 603 to get advice on all aspects of Irish employment law. Members are entitled to 20 calls per year (25 if you’re a Chartered member). The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We know that our members and customers are facing challenging times and we are here to help you. Due to a high number of calls we apologise that your wait time may be longer than usual. We appreciate your patience and will connect you to an expert adviser as soon as we can.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is an exceptional event posing a threat to worker health and safety and a risk to business operations.
As a new virus, it’s unclear how long the threat will last so organisations must plan for weeks and possibly months of disruption.
Employee health, safety and well-being during this time is paramount. Employers need to be proactive in protecting their people and minimising the risk to staff and business continuity. The people profession needs to be at the forefront of the plans and critical decisions being made about the workforce.
They must recognise that many of their people will be anxious about contracting the virus and how they might cope financially if they are to be absent from work. Constant communication with the workforce and early action are key.
By swiftly adopting agile and flexible working practices, and being generous with sick pay for example, organisations will be better positioned to contain the coronavirus and minimise disruption to business.
Even so, the risk cannot be completely eliminated. Governments, employers and employees must all be ready to take additional steps to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.