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UK and Ireland: COVID-19 – What the legislation and guidance is saying?

Health & Safety, Legislation Update



The Health Service Executive – Health Protection Surveillance Centre – has published Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for COVID-19, which provides recommendations for the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the management of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Moreover, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Innovation has issued a checklist of preparatory actions in responding to COVID-19 to assist with business continuity planning. Links to the guidance are available here: Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for COVID-19 and Business Continuity Planning Checklist of preparatory actions in responding to COVID-19

On the 18th of March, The Department of Health published the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill 2020 (Bill 3 of 2020) to make exceptional provision to mitigate the effect of the spread of Covid-19 and, amongst other provisions, to make regulations prohibiting or restricting the holding of certain events or access to certain premises and to provide for enforcement measures. The bill is currently before Dáil Éireann, Second Stage (as of 19 March)

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection have published several measures to provide income support to people adversely impacted by COVID-19. These are available here. Moreover, the Department has issued Revenue Guidance for Employer COVID-19 Refund and Guidelines for the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme.

Temporary relaxation of EU driving and resting time rules due to COVID-19: The Road Safety Authority and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport have agreed to allow a temporary and urgent derogation in respect of certain provisions of the EU driving and resting time rules in light of the impact of COVID-19 on HGV operations. The proposed derogation will apply to all operators and drivers subject to the EU driver’s hours and tachograph rules engaged in the carriage of goods. The derogation comes into effect from 18 March 2020 up to 16 April 2020, and it will be reviewed every week as regards application and scope.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has issued “Covid 19- Advice for Employers”. Employers are required to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that an appropriate assessment of the risk for COVID-19 in their workplace is carried out. Suitable control measures should be identified and implemented to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection. These measures should be communicated to all relevant employees and others at the place of work. Furthermore, the HSA has issued FAQ’s for Employers and Employees in relation to Home-Working on a temporary basis (COVID-19).


UK and Great Britain

The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England have published the following guidance relating to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance; Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK Government Response; and Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK.

The Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit (Coronavirus Disease) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 289), which entered into force on 13th  March 2020, respond to the outbreak of Coronavirus disease in Great Britain. The purpose of these Regulations is, to make provision for those claiming or entitled to employment and support allowance and/or universal credit so as to provide additional support which helps both individuals and the wider economy weather the financial impacts arising from the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 304) entered into force on 17th March 2020, to amend regulation 2 of the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982 to reflect the date of the latest guidance provided by Public Health England, NHS National Services Scotland and Public Health Wales relating to coronavirus (Covid-19). It ensures that a person who is following that guidance and isolating themselves is deemed to be incapable of work, and therefore entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.

Similar legislation has also been published in Northern Ireland: the Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit (Coronavirus) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (SR 2020 No. 33) and the Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (SR 2020 No. 32). In addition, the HSENI have published significant guidance for employers, businesses and non-clinical settings. The guidance is available here.

Coronavirus , COVID-19 , Health & Safety , Health and Safety Legislation , legislation , Legislation Updates Ireland
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