Employer update: Further restrictions added under Level 5

Moira Grassick

January 08 2021

On January 6th, the Irish Government agreed that additional public health restrictions will apply under Level 5 of the Plan for Living with COVID.

The added restrictions aim to fight and reduce the spread of coronavirus. The advice remains that people should stay at home except for essential reasons. As a result, many employees will continue to work from home.

Below, we look at some of the new measures added under Level 5.

Level 5 restrictions that impact employers

Schools

Schools will remain closed until February 1st.

School buildings will be open to allow for staff to aid distance learning. Guidance supports will also remain available to students.

The schools closure could impact working parents and in turn, your business operations. An influx of flexible working requests may follow.

Business supports

The Government has agreed to continue certain business supports.

Included are payments available under the Employment Wage Support Scheme (EWSS) and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). These supports are essential for both employers and workers who lose their jobs due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

EWSS

Under the EWSS, payment of up to €350 per week will continue. This enhanced payment level, which was due to fall from February 1st, will now remain in place until March 31st.

PUP

The PUP will continue at the current payment of up to €350 per week until March 31st. This payment level was also due to fall from February 1st.

Childcare services

Childcare services, including regulated childminders, will remain closed except for services for vulnerable children and children of essential workers.

Other existing childcare arrangements can continue to operate for vulnerable children and children of essential workers only.

A household of an essential worker, without an existing childcare arrangement, can also form a bubble with another household for the purpose of providing childcare.

Construction

Construction must stop from 6 p.m. Friday, January 8th. Limited exceptions are in place, including:

  • Essential health and related projects including those relevant to COVID-19.
  • Social housing projects designated as essential sites by Local Authorities based on set criteria. This includes voids.
  • Housing adaptation grants where the homeowner is agreeable to adaptions being undertaken in their home.
  • Repair, maintenance, and construction of critical transport and utility infrastructure.
  • Education facilities sites designated as essential by the Department of Education.
  • Supply and delivery of essential or emergency maintenance and repair services to businesses and places of residence. This includes electrical, gas, plumbing, glazing, and roofing services on an emergency call-out basis.
  • Certain large construction projects in the exporting/FDI sector, based on set criteria.

Click and collect

Click and collect from non-essential retail outlets must stop (excluding existing orders). Click and deliver can continue.

Need expert advice?

If you have questions regarding the additional Level 5 restrictions, speak with one of our HR experts today on 1890 252 923.

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