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The National Action Plan on COVID-19

The Irish Government has approved ‘Ireland’s National Action Plan in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)’

The plan has been prepared following involvements from all departments and key agencies.

Its main aims are to:

  • Minimise the risk of people becoming unwell
  • Minimise the health, wellbeing and social impact for people who may be at greater risk
  • Reduce the economic and social disruption associated with the COVID-19 outbreak

The plan includes information on:

  • What we know about the COVID-19 virus
  • What the public can do to reduce the threat
  • The public health led approach being taken
  • Supports for businesses and those who have lost their jobs
  • Supports for vulnerable people in society
  • Measures to ensure continuity of essential services
  • Measures to protect vital supply chains

The Health Service Executive (HSE) is implementing a wide range of measures that are unprecedented in their scale and speed in order to face the enormous challenges that COVID-19 will pose in the coming weeks.

Read the National Action Plan on gov.ie (pdf).

Update on services in Citizens Information Centres

During the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Citizens Information Centres will not be open to members of the public who do not have an appointment. You can telephone or email your local CIC if you need to speak to an Information Officer.

You can also contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm).

We will continue to update our COVID-19 (coronavirus) information on citizensinformation.ie and our social media channels.

Twitter: @citizensinfo
Facebook: @citizensinformation.ie

Coronavirus and Illness Benefit

COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a new virus that has not previously been seen in humans.

The Government has announced that the Illness Benefit and Supplementary Welfare Allowance rules will be changed to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus. The changes mean that if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19 and are medically required to self-isolate, you can get income support.

Legislation is required to implement these changes and emergency legislation is being prepared.

The main changes are:

  • You will not have to wait 6 days before you can apply for Illness Benefit. This means Illness Benefit can cover the first week of a COVID-19 diagnosis (or medically-required self-isolation) and any subsequent weeks.
  • The personal rate of Illness Benefit will increase from €203 to €305 per week for up to 2 weeks if you are medically required to self-isolate, or for the duration of your medically-certified absence from work with a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • The normal social insurance requirements for Illness Benefit will be waived, if you are medically required to self-isolate or you are diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You can get Supplementary Welfare Allowance without having to pass a means test, if you don’t qualify for Illness Benefit and you are medically required to self-isolate or diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Government has also stated that self-employed people will be able to get either Illness Benefit or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

If you have coronavirus symptoms or you are medically required to self-isolate, you should not visit an Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office. You can get information about applying for social welfare payments through MyWelfare and you can call 1890 800 024 or (01) 248 1398.

If you are already getting a social welfare payment or you are on an employment programmes such as Community Employment (CE) and Tús or a funded training and education programme, you do not need to apply for Illness Benefit. Your existing payment will continue to be paid if you are affected by coronavirus.

You can find information for employees and employers and about the income supports available on gov.e.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Information for employers and employees

Under the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, both employers and employees have duties of care – this means that they need to make sure that no harm is caused to each other or any other person by their actions or omissions.

For employers, this includes things like providing facilities, information and instructions to ensure that employees are safe in their workplaces. For example, employers should ensure that employees know what to do if they are diagnosed with a contagious illness like coronavirus (COVID-19).

For employees, this means that they should not pose a threat to the health and welfare of others in their workplace. For example, they should not come to work if they have, or suspect they have, a contagious illness.

If employees need to stay at home because they are ill, they may be entitled to sick leave and pay – depending on the terms and conditions in their contract of employment. You should check the terms and conditions in your contract of employment to see if you get paid while on sick leave.

However, there is no statutory entitlement to be paid while you are on sick leave. You can read more about sick leave and sick pay.

Similarly, if you cannot attend work because of precautionary measures taken in line with advice from the HSE or the HPSC, you may not be entitled to pay.

The Workplace Relations Commission has recommended that employers should be as flexible as possible. If employees cannot come to work, employers should explore options such as:

  • Working from home or other remote working arrangements
  • Working from an alternative location
  • Working back the hours or days lost
  • Open days on a day where the business is normally closed
  • Allowing employees to take annual leave

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you can apply for Illness Benefit, based on your social insurance contributions (PRSI) or Supplementary Welfare Allowance, based on a means test. 

If you are not diagnosed with COVID-19, but you are advised or directed to self-isolate by a doctor you can apply for income support from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

If your employer asks you to stay at home as a precaution or puts you on a period of lay-off and does not continue to pay your wages, you can apply for income support in the form of a jobseeker payment or Supplementary Welfare Allowance. 

Where to get more information:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update 

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus. The HSE has confirmed that a patient with COVID-19 is currently being treated in Northern Ireland. The patient had returned from Northern Italy and had arrived in Ireland at Dublin Airport.

The risk of catching the virus in Ireland is still low, and the HSE advises that people can go about their normal activities. You can get information about what to do if you become ill or have contact with a person who is confirmed with the virus on the HSE website.

If you are planning a trip abroad and have changed your mind due to the risk posed by COVID-19, or your holiday or flight has been cancelled due to the outbreak, you can read advice from the European Consumer Centre.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advice on travel abroad to affected regions.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has advice for people who work with food.

The Department of Education and Skills has updated information for schools.