Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has said that parents who cannot return to work because of childcare issues can continue to claim the pandemic payment.
“We have to support people until they can return to work,” she told RTÉ radio’sshow. “I want to reassure people the department will be there to support them until they can go back to work.”
The scheme has been extended to Phase 5, she said. Any decision in relation to it being extended beyond that will have to be made by a future government.
The reopening of creches and child care facilities on June 29th “will make a massive difference,” she added.
On the same programme employment law expert Richard Grogan warned that childcare is a significant issue for people returning to work. In the absence of such facilities until June 29: “if people are going back to work, who is going to mind the child?”
Employers could claim that people who do not return to work because of childcare issues were “abandoning the workplace,” he said.
“Lots of people are going to lose their jobs.”
The lack of government support to assist home working was a cause for concern, he added. Mr Grogan was particularly concerned about people with disabilities who will have “real issues” for getting back to work.
“That is a difficult market to get back into.”
Mr Grogan said that anyone returning to work should have signed a back-to-work form and should have received back-to-work protocols from their employer.
If they had not they should alert the Health and Safety Authority (HAS), but the authority did not have enough inspectors.