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.

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Last reviewed: 20 October 2020

The country has moved to Level 5 restrictions from Wednesday 21 Oct for six weeks in an urgent attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus. During this period only workers  providing an essential service for which their physical presence is required are permitted to go work, all others must work from home. Only essential retail outlets can open, and all other retail and personal services must close, with bars, cafes, and restaurants allowed to offer a takeaway service. 

The construction and manufacturing sectors are allowed to continue to operate. People are to stay within 5kms of their home, no visitors are allowed to private homes, but a maximum of two households may meet outdoors. Higher and adult education continue primarily online. Public transport will operate at 25% capacity to enable those providing essential services to get to work. Face coverings must be worn.

In a key variation from the original government framework for Level 5, schools and crèches remain open, elite sport may continue and weddings may have up to 25 people.

Employment support schemes

With the announcement of Level 5 restrictions, the government announced a new band of Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) of €350 per week for those unable to work and who had been earning more than €400 per week. Existing PUP recipients who earned more than €400 are to have their rates automatically increased to €350. Otherwise current rules apply whereby a weekly payment of €300 is paid to those whose earnings were over €300 per week prior to the pandemic, €250 applies to 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 a revision to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, employers whose turnover has fallen by more than 30 per cent due to Covid-19 will get a flat-rate subsidy based on the number of qualifying employees. Under the new scheme due to run until end January 2021, the bands will increase from three to five, the highest of which will see employers paid €350 per week for those earning between €400 to €1462.

This year, 2020, has shown all of us how crucial our own wellbeing is and that of our managers and employees. As we deal with Level 5 restrictions and come to terms with winter, increasing attention on employee mental health and wellbeing is necessary. We recommend starting by revisiting how to get the most from remote working. Our series of top tips will help you and your teams focus on healthy remote working where employees feel supported, and will reinforce the good practices introduced last March that may have slipped. Our newly designed wellbeing hub provides resources designed to support you, your managers and organisations on health and mental health

Highlights from this page


COVID-19 impact survey

Read our June 2020 research into how employers have responded through the COVID-19 crisis and in returning to the workplace

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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

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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.

CIPD position

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.