UPDATE: Coronavirus (Covid-19)

There is a lot of uncertainty around Covid-19 Coronavirus and the situation is changing by the day.

That is why we have set out the most up to date information for educators and providers below.

We will be keeping SIPTU members up to date via email, Facebook and Twitter.

SIPTU organisers and activists will also meet with other key stakeholders and providers tomorrow at a ‘Together for Early Years’ coalition to discuss the issue.

HSE Advice

There is currently no plan to close pre-schools or schools in Ireland on a blanket basis. This policy is being kept under review by the DCYA / HSE and may change.

For now, only children and staff members who are directed to, in accordance with the HSE guidelines, need to self-isolate.

In this instance they should follow the HSE guidelines about caring for themselves and reducing risk of spread of the virus.

The latest HSE updates are available here.

DCYA Circular

If a service is directed to close by the HSE, for all DCYA programmes, DCYA will approve closure on force majeure grounds, so that subvention will continue to be paid.

This will cover ECCE, NCS and the legacy schemes (CCS, TEC). The service will not be required to make up days for those closed due to approved force majeure.

The full DCYA circular (10th March 2020) is available here.

Sick Pay & Social Welfare

Following union lobbying, the government have announced that workers affected by Covid-19 will receive a new higher level of ‘illness benifit’ of €305 a week from the first day of illness.

It is proposed that existing conditions surrounding sick pay like having enough PRSI contributions would be waved.

Illness is also will also be available to the self employed owner operators.

The full details will be known once legislation is passed. A bill will be brought to the Dáil next Thursday.

As soon as there are developments, we will be in contact with SIPTU members.

Service Closures and Pay

Any employee who is requested to stay at home by their employer as a precaution against the spread of Covid-19 can apply for an income support in the form of a Jobseeker’s Payment or Supplementary Welfare Allowance if the employer cannot afford to pay their wages.

This may happen where an employee has not been advised to self-isolate in accordance with the up-to-date guidelines of the HSE.

These circumstances are considered a ‘temporary lay-off’ and covers employees who are haven’t been advised to self-isolate.

Basic Precautions

In the current public health emergency, it is imperative that we all heed the public health advice and take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and our colleagues from the COVID-19 virus.

Regular handwashing is a key means of containment of this virus. This short video from the World Health Organisation which demonstrates the ‘fine art of handwashing’.

We are urging workers to wash their hands frequently to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We can show our solidarity by following these simple guidelines.

With so much uncertainty, this is a very difficult time for educators, providers and parents.

SIPTU will continue to keep our members up to date with developments and advocate for necessary supports.

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