What's New

Citizens Information Services and COVID-19

All our Citizens Information offices remain closed to drop-in callers. From Monday 29 June, a limited number of appointments are being made in offices where social distancing can be facilitated.

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in our Find a Centre page.

You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo.

Know your rights: Returning to work safely

My employer has asked me to return to work. What do I need to do before I go back to the office?

You need to know how your employer will operate before and after they reopen and what you should do to keep yourself and your fellow workers safe.  The Government has set out detailed information in the protocol for returning to work safely. Following these measures will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace.

Your employer must put systems in place before reopening. They must send you a pre-return to work form at least 3 days before your planned return. This will ask if you have COVID-19 or any symptoms, if you have been asked to self-isolate or if you are a close contact of anyone who has or is suspected of having the virus.

Your employer should update business and safety plans including how to deal with a suspected case of COVID-19. They must appoint a designated manager who will take care of suspected cases of COVID-19. Your employer must communicate with and consult with workers on any changes needed in the workplace, including appointing a lead worker representative. They must give you COVID-19 induction training.

When you are back at work, your employer must:

  • Provide temperature testing in line with public health advice and hygiene facilities including tissues, disposal bins or bags and hand sanitiser.
  • Arrange for physical distancing across all work activities of at least 2 metres where possible. This may mean staggering breaks, meetings and canteen facilities.
  • Implement a no handshaking policy, adapt any sign in and sign out systems and ensure safe practices.
  • Keep a log of any group meetings.
  • Regularly clean your workplace.
  • Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and protective clothing where necessary.
  • Designate an isolation area where an employee suspected of having COVID-19 can go. The designated manager will arrange for the person to be taken there by a safe route. The manager must also arrange for the employee to get home or get medical help and avoid public transport.

You must:

  • Travel to work alone. If travelling by car you should travel alone or share with only one person while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Follow any social distancing measures your employer puts in place.
  • Wash your hands properly and follow advice on sneezing and coughing.
  • If you are unwell, get medical advice and you should not go to work.
  • Tell your employer if you think it is unsafe for you to be at work and why or if you are concerned you could be putting a member of your household at risk.

If you feel your workplace is not following social distancing or other measures, you can raise your concerns with the Health Service Authority (HSA). The Health Service Authority has the power to inspect and shut down workplaces that don’t follow safety guidance. You can contact the HSA by emailing wcu@hsa.ie or phoning 1890 289 389.

Your employer can get return to work COVID-19 templates and checklists


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from:

Know your rights: Package holiday cancellations

I booked a package holiday in July. Can I get a refund or money back if I cancel?

Yes. There is specific advice about package holiday cancellations for holidays due to start before or after 20 July 2020.

Package holidays are treated differently to bookings for accommodation or flights on their own. A package holiday is a pre-arranged or customised holiday. It must last more than 24 hours or include an overnight stay. It is sold as a whole deal and can be made up of at least 2 elements, such as transport, accommodation, car rental or tourist services like tours and excursions.

If your package holiday is due to start:

  • Before 20 July – you are entitled to a full refund. You do not have to pay a cancellation fee.  The travel organiser can offer you a State-guaranteed refund credit note if they cannot offer you a cash refund. 
  • After 20 July – you are still entitled to cancel and can get a refund or a State-guaranteed refund credit note, but you may have to pay a cancellation fee.
  • After 20 July and if the travel organiser has already cancelled the holiday – you are entitled to a full refund or a State-guaranteed refund credit note. You don’t have to pay a cancellation  fee.

Your tour operator or travel agent can offer you a State-guaranteed refund credit note for your package holiday if they cannot give you a cash refund. The State guarantee means that if your travel agent or tour operator goes out of business and cannot pay you back, your refund is protected.

The refund credit note has a future date. You can exchange the note for a cash refund or book a replacement holiday by that date. However, you do not have to accept a refund credit note.  You can get a full refund or you can get a part refund and part cash.

You also have the right to cancel your package holiday before the start of your holiday for free if there are  ‘unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances’ such as disease or serious conditions at your destination.

If you are planning to travel abroad, you should follow the travel advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA). You can use the DFA’s Travelwise app or you can phone DFA’s dedicated phone line on (01) 613 1733.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from:

What’s changing from Monday 8 June?

The Government has confirmed that it is safe to move to Phase 2 of the Roadmap for Reopening Business and Society on Monday 8 June 2020.

The Government has also confirmed that the phases set out in the Roadmap will be accelerated with phases 3, 4 and 5 being merged. Under the reconfiguration of the Roadmap, there are now just two remaining phases instead of three, with Phase 3 starting on 29 June, and Phase 4 on 20 July.  The domestic travel restrictions (within Ireland) will be lifted from 29 June 2020.

The key changes from Monday 8 June will be:

  • Stay local: You may travel within your own county, and up to 20 kilometres from your home if you are crossing county boundaries.
  • Meeting other people: You may meet up to 6 people from outside your household, both indoors and outdoors for social gatherings. You can take part in organised outdoor exercise, sporting, cultural or social activities with up to 15 people. Up to 25 immediate family and close friends may attend funeral services. Outdoor summer camps may operate for post-primary children.
  • Shops: All retail shops can reopen from 8 June and shopping centres can open from Monday 15 June. People are encouraged to shop locally, shop safely and support businesses in the community. However there will be specific rules for shopping and shopping centres which will be published shortly. Opening times and modes of operation may vary. You should co-operate with store staff and abide by systems put in place for your safety.
  • Work from home: You should work  from home where possible.
  • Transport: Walk or cycle if you can. Only use public transport if you absolutely need to and wear a face covering on public transport. Public transport capacity is limited because of social distancing requirements.

Changes have also been announced to the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and it has been confirmed that the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme will continue until the end of August.

Know your rights: Maternity leave during COVID-19

I’ve been on maternity leave from work. What are the rules about the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme for people returning from maternity leave?

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) provides financial support to workers affected by the COVID-19 shutdown.  The scheme makes it easier for businesses to re-open with staff when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

To access the scheme, businesses had to be substantially affected by COVID-19. They also needed to provide employee payroll details from January and February 2020. This meant that if you were on maternity leave or adoptive leave you were not eligible for the scheme.  People on paternity leave, illness benefit or unpaid leave were also affected by this anomaly in the TWSS.

This will now change. From 12 June 2020, Revenue will allow payroll changes to be made to the scheme for these workers and payments can be backdated to 26 March in some cases.

How to get onto TWSS after maternity leave

When you return to work from maternity or adoptive leave, your employer must complete details about you as a returning employee through MyEnquiries on revenue.ie.   The form includes details of your weekly gross salary. 

Revenue will consider each case. They will cross-reference the information from your employer with maternity benefit data previously sent to the DEASP and your last full weekly gross pay on record before your maternity or adoptive leave.

Revenue will then calculate an Average Revenue Net Weekly Pay (ARNWP) to work out your TWSS payment.  The payroll files will then be updated to include the calculated ARNWP. Your employer can still top up your pay in line with the current TWSS rules and threshold amounts.

If your employer took you off the payroll, they can re-hire you. They need to request a new Revenue Payroll notification before you can benefit from TWSS. If you stay on your employer’s payroll, your TWSS payment can be backdated to 26 March.

If you were getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, you cannot get the backdated TWSS payment because you cannot get two payments. However you can switch to the TWSS from 12 June.

You can read more about COVID-19 and Maternity Benefit.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from:

Know your rights: Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

I am getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. I have one child starting school in September. Can I qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance?

Yes, you can. To qualify for this payment which helps with back to school costs, you must be getting a social welfare payment or taking part in a training, employment or adult education scheme. Your children must be aged between 4 and 22 on or before 30 September 2020. If they are aged between 18 and 22 they must be in full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college. In general, you must be getting an Increase for a Qualified Child with your payment.

However, if you are getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, the Working Family Payment or the Back to Work Family Dividend, you can qualify. Your application will be means-tested and your total family income must be below a certain level for your family size.

The Allowance is €150 for children aged between 4 and 11 and €275 for children aged between 12 and 22. It is paid automatically to many families. This means that they do not have to apply for the payment. If you qualify automatically, you will get your payment the week beginning 13 July 2020.

You will need to apply online if you do not get a letter confirming your payment by 6 July 2020. If any of your children are aged 18 or over, you must apply for the BTSCFA for them and show evidence that they are in second-level education (even if automatic payments have issued for other children in your family).

From 6 July 2020, you can apply for BTSCFA online through MyWelfare.ie. You must have a Public Services Card and a verified MyGovID account to apply online.

Read more about the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance and you can read detailed guidelines on gov.ie.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from:

Know your rights: What are the rules about face coverings?

Wearing a face covering – not a face mask – is recommended for situations where social distancing is difficult, for example, in public indoor areas or on busy public transport.

A face covering is not a medical mask, which should be reserved for healthcare professionals. It is material (usually cotton or linen) that you wear across your nose and mouth using elastic or string. You can buy a face covering or make a face covering.

It is not compulsory to wear a face covering in Ireland and they are not suitable for some people, including for children under 13.

How do I use a face covering?

You should always wash your hands before putting on your face covering. Avoid touching it while you are wearing it (and if you accidently touch the front, wash your hands straight away).

Make sure that the material fully covers your nose and mouth. You should check that it is tied securely and fits snugly against the side of your face.

Keep your spare face coverings in a clean, waterproof bag (such as a ziplock bag). You should carry a similar bag for used face coverings. Label these bags clearly so that you do not mix them up.

If you are a smoker, do not lift up your face covering to smoke. Instead, remove it completely and place it in your ‘used’ ziplock bag.

When you are removing your face covering, do so using the strings at the back. Do not touch the front.

If your face covering is disposable, throw it in a bin immediately after use. If it is re-usable, you should wash it in hot water (60 degrees or hotter) with detergent.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from:

Know your rights: How exactly will grades be calculated for Leaving Certificate 2020?

In 2020, you can opt to have your grades based on a new calculated grades system. A calculated grade is based on an estimated mark that you would get in a subject in the Leaving Certificate examination in normal circumstances.

You will be awarded a State Certificate of Calculated Grades for each subject in the Leaving Certificate.  This has the same status as the Leaving Certificates in previous years. You can still opt to sit the conventional written Leaving Certificate exam at a later date when it’s possible.

There are 4 key steps to working out a calculated grade:

Step 1: Your teacher will estimate the mark you would likely have got in the Leaving Certificate subject under normal conditions. They will use a range of records and evidence such as your classwork, homework, class assessments, Christmas and summer exams, mock exams and coursework.

Your teacher will also estimate your expected mark in the oral and practical performance tests.  Previously, the Department of Education had awarded all students full marks for this option but this no longer applies.

You will be given a single overall estimated percentage mark in the subject. Your teacher will then estimate where you rank in relation to other students in your class.

Step 2: All the subject teachers in your school will then review the marks and rank all the school’s students for that subject. Your teacher will finalise your estimated percentage marks and ranking. The deputy principal will review the ranking with your teacher if they are the only teacher of the subject.

Step 3: Your school principal will review the marks and rankings and check that the process has been fair before sending the final estimated marks and class rankings to the Department.

Step 4: The Department will apply a standardisation process. This takes the estimated marks from each school and adjusts them to bring them into the rankings for the expected grades for that school based on the historical information held by the State Examinations Commission.

Your estimated marks for your subject will then be converted into your final calculated grade.

You can appeal your results. This will check that the correct information has been used and the process has been fair. It cannot review the percentage mark from your teacher. You will still have the option to sit the written exam. If you get a higher grade in the exam than your calculated grade, your results for the subject will be amended.

You cannot discuss the estimated marks with your teacher or any school staff.

Read more in our document about calculated grades and the Department of Education’s FAQs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from: