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March 9, 2020 – Dublin – As the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) develops, here is what employers need to know about this upper respiratory infection that has spread internationally. Employers are faced with difficult decisions as to whether they should remain open and whether or not they must pay their employees in the event of closure. Tully Rinckey Solicitor Setanta Landers is available to discuss the implications that COVID-19 has on employers in Ireland. Below are some tips that Tully Rinckey Solicitors are advising their corporate clients.
Maintain a Safer Workplace
Employers can increase workplace safety by following the coronavirus guidelines published by the Department of Health and World Health Organization. Employers should take precautions like encouraging sick employees to stay home, including by modifying policies to liberalize leave. As another example, employers should provide resources to employees, including keeping hand soap and sanitizer stocked and available.
Curtail Non-Essential Employee Travel
As a corollary to maintaining a safer workplace, employers should curtail non-essential travel to reduce the potential of employee exposure to the coronavirus while traveling for work. Non-essential travel to China and certain other countries abroad in Asia and throughout Europe is advisable.
Considerations During Business Closure
All employers under employment law owe a duty of care to their employees under the Health and Safety at work Acts. It is the overarching duty of an Irish employer to provide a safe place of work. If an employer is aware of an identified risk they will be obliged to take protective measures. In certain cases the authorities may mandate certain closures of public events and activities.
Payment of Wages During Business Closure
The starting point for all contract obligations is the contract of employment which should be consulted.
For most civil servants there is paid provision for absences due to sick leave. In a 2015 sets out that these periods of isolated absence may be discounted for assessing periods of sick leave when assessing for promotion.
For most private employees it will depend on the company sick pay policy.
For self-employed persons there is no provision to recoup lost earnings beyond insurance claims.
The WRC has issued its own guidance to say that where not covered by the contract the default position applies that there is no entitlement to sick pay. Link
Tully Rinckey Solicitor Setanta Landers is available to discuss further the implications that COVID-19 has on employers and employees. Setanta routinely services multinational companies in Ireland and can advise on the various laws, rules and regulations that impact employers. Tully Rinckey’s Dublin office provides business clients, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean legal services in a variety of areas to include labor and employment, tax, IP and commercial property.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Setanta Landers please contact Graig Cortelyou at + 353 1 9637000 or via email at email@example.com.