The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection are introducing measures to provide income support to people affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
3 major changes have been announced:
- the current 6-day waiting period for Illness Benefit will not apply to anyone who has COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or is in medically-required self-isolation
- the personal rate of Illness Benefit will increase from €203 per week to €305 per week for a maximum of 2 weeks medically-required self-isolation or for the full duration of absence from work following a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
- the normal social insurance requirements for Illness Benefit will be changed or the means test for Supplementary Welfare Allowance will be removed
You can access public health advice about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at the government’s information page.
The Government has now urged all employers to support national public health objectives by continuing, as a minimum, to pay employees who cannot attend work due to Covid-19 illness or self-isolation the difference between the enhanced Illness Benefit rate and their normal wages.
This may be achieved through the employer considering a range of flexible working arrangements with their employees such as:
- compassionate leave
- allowing the employee to work remotely
- allowing the staff member to ‘work-up’ any time taken at a future date
- allowing the employee to avail of annual leave entitlements
- rearranging parental leave
A number of income supports are available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for people whose employers do not continue to pay them during a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) related absence or temporary lay-off from work.
In considering how to respond to questions arising as a consequence of Covid-19 employers and employees are directed in the first instance to the public health advice issued by the HSE, available on their website www.HSE.ie . It is essential that all individuals and employers abide by this advice.