Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.14 11 Mar 2020


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The Government is joining business groups and unions, calling on all employers to continue to pay employees as normal if they have coronavirus symptoms.

It wants employers to do all they can to allow staff to deal with that while also on normal pay.

Chambers Ireland, the Government, trade unions and other employer bodies have issued a joint statement following a meeting on Wednesday.

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Acting Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and acting Business Minister Heather Humphreys have said an "unprecedented shared national effort" is required to respond to the global and national public health crisis arising from COVID-19.

The Government said it will work closely with all stakeholders across society in responding to the crisis.

In particular, it said it is important that employees and the self-employed abide by public health advice to self-isolate where appropriate - while having their income protected.

The Government said: "This is essential to limit and slow down the spread of the virus, to keep the number of affected people to a minimum, and reduce peak pressure on the health service.

"Following consultation with trades union and employer representatives (the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Ibec, the Construction Industry Federation, Chambers Ireland and ISME) the Government has therefore agreed to introduce a series of measures to enhance State illness payments for people affected by COVID-19."

It added that these measures will have "a significant cost" to the exchequer, but that they are being taken in recognition of "overriding public health imperative facing the country at this time."

The Government, trade unions and employer bodies said they also recognise that some employers will face severe business and cashflow pressures in the period ahead.

A number of liquidity measures to assist affected businesses have also been announced.

The trade union and employer representative bodies are now, jointly with the Government, urging all employers to support national public health objectives by continuing to pay workers who cannot attend work due to COVID-19 illness - or certified self-isolation - the difference between the special illness benefit rate and their normal wages.

"They accept that there will be some companies for whom this is not possible given their financial situation in the crisis, but would urge that as far as possible employers should contribute alongside the Government's enhanced support, to help meet public health objectives", a statement added.

"The Government, trade unions and employer groups are committed to showing flexibility and a co-operative approach in managing the inevitable disruption which will arise in these difficult and exceptional times."

Do you have questions about the Covid-19 outbreak? Listen to the latest episode of Ciara Kelly's new podcast series Coronavirus: Your Questions Answered.

Government, business groups and unions urge firms to fully pay COVID-19 workers

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Main image: Heather Humphreys and Paschal Donohoe address the media on coronavirus and workers pay at Government Buildings in Dublin | Image via @merrionstreet on Twitter


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Chambers Ireland Coronavirus Coronavirus Symptoms Covid-19 Employer Bodies Heather Humphreys Paschal Donohoe Trade Unions

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