A cabinet subcommittee will consider income support for people who
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will chair a meeting on the matter next Monday. This follows representations from trade unions and employers in recent days.
Mr Varadkar said: “The Government recognises that employees who need to self-isolate, in accordance with medical advice, should receive income support. This will require flexibility and responsiveness by employers and in government social protection schemes. Following consultation with employers and trade union representatives, proposals will be considered by the cabinet subcommittee next Monday.”
In particular, the Government agreed that employees complying with medical advice from the HSE should receive income support in doing so and should not be disincentivised to disclose symptoms.
The Taoiseach has asked officials to meet with employer and trade union representatives to discuss how this assistance can best be provided. This is in addition to ongoing, wider stakeholder engagement on managing the impact of Covid-19.
Following this consultation, proposals will be considered by the cabinet subcommittee chaired by the Taoiseach next Monday.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) wrote to Mr Varadkar, asking him to intervene to ensure nobody would be out of pocket. They said the threat of losing income would deter workers from self-isolating and, potentially, contribute to the spread of the virus.
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) advised that workers who stay away from work as a precautionary measure may have no legal right to be paid.
In her letter to the Taoiseach, Patricia King, ICTU general secretary, said, “hundreds of thousands of workers” could be affected.
“Some workers, through no fault of their own, may simply be unable to afford to self-isolate,” she said.
Employers body, Ibec, wrote to the Department of Social Protection, requesting the introduction of a “special emergency social welfare payment” at the level of job seekers’ benefit.
This payment would be applicable from the first day of employment stoppage.