Taoiseach Advocates Financial Supports for Self-Isolating Workers

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The Taoiseach has said employees should get income supports if they’re required to self-isolate because of the Coronavirus.

Leo Varadkar has said both employers and the government through social protection schemes will have to show flexibility towards workers.

A cabinet subcommittee will consider income support for people who have to self-isolate because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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The government view is that employees shouldn’t be dis-incentivised from disclosing symptoms or reporting exposure to COVID-19.

Leo Varadkar will chair a meeting on the matter next Monday. This follows representations from trade unions and employers in recent days.

The Taoiseach has also said extra resources are being given to the health service to address the outbreak of Coronavirus:

“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.”

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.