In the past few weeks, we have experienced very surreal times, which look set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Everyone is affected in some shape or form by Covid-19, whether you have been touched directly by it, or merely have had to work from home, or have children who have to stay at home from school or college.
We are all in this together and we will get through it.
The Government has encouraged employers to allow employees to work from home where possible, and be as flexible as possible in their response to the restrictions that are now in place.
If you are showing symptoms of Covid-19, you should not go to work.
You should contact your GP for advice.
While you are sick with coronavirus, you may be entitled to sick pay from your employer.
You will need to check your contract of employment to ascertain whether or not you are entitled to sick pay.
Your employer does not have to pay you when you cannot come to work because you are sick with coronavirus, unless it is part of your contract of employment.
If your employer does not pay you, you should apply for enhanced Illness Benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
You do not need to satisfy the usual PRSI conditions for Illness Benefit, if you are off sick from work with Covid-19.
This means that you will be eligible for the payment even if you have only recently started working.
Your GP may advise you to self-isolate before you have been diagnosed with Covid-19.
This means that you have been asked to stay indoors and to completely avoid contact with other people.
You are entitled to Illness Benefit if you have been medically advised to self-isolate.
Enhanced Illness Benefit will be paid at a higher rate than Illness Benefit, and is only available where you have been diagnosed with Covid-19, or have been told to self- isolate by a medical professional, because of Covid-19.
Your employer may decide to close their business for this period, and to send you home.
This is called a temporary lay-off.
If your employer cannot pay for this period, you can apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance.
If your employer reduces your hours to three days or less per week, from your normal full-time hours, you can apply for a payment called Short Time Work Support, which is a form of Jobseeker’s Benefit.
Your employer can also put you on short-time working, which is a more formal procedure, and applies in circumstances where, due to a reduction in the amount of work to be done, your weekly pay is less than half your normal weekly pay, or your hours worked are reduced to less than half your normal weekly working hours.
Karen Walsh, from a farming background, is a solicitor practicing in Walsh & Partners, Solicitors, 17, South Mall, Cork (021-4270200), and author of ‘Farming and the Law’. Walsh & Partners also specialises in personal injury claims, conveyancing, probate and family law.Email: email@example.com Web: www.walshandpartners.ie