The COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of a no-deal Brexit are the overriding themes underpinning the government's budget for 2021. According to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, the government has set aside €5.5 billion in contingency funds due to the "unbelievable uncertainty" facing the country. This article highlights the key points from the budget that employers should note.
The Labour Party has proposed the Sick Leave and Parental Leave (COVID-19) Bill 2020 which, if passed, would give employees in Ireland the legal right to paid sick leave for the first time. It also proposes paid leave for employees whose children must stay at home from school due to COVID-19 measures.
On 1 September 2020 unpaid parental leave entitlement in Ireland was increased from 22 weeks to 26 weeks. This means that eligible parents will be able to take 26 weeks' parental leave for each child who falls within the prescribed thresholds. Employers should check their policies and procedures to take into account the increase from 1 September 2020 onwards.
This article discusses the key measures under the new government's July Stimulus Plan of which employers should be aware, plus various commitments under its Programme for Government which could have a significant impact in workplaces. The proposals – which cover wage subsidies, job creation and recovery and work-life balance and equality, among other things – clearly reflect the new economic reality in the wake of COVID-19.
As the COVID-19 crisis begins to ease, employers must think carefully about how to safely manage the process of returning employees to the workplace. Companies must ensure the health and safety of their employees and visitors to their premises and comply with any continuing government guidelines, including in relation to physical distancing. This article summarises the legal landscape and various considerations that employers will need to take into account in Ireland.