Ireland: Guidance and Support
See below for Ireland’s close contact guidance, lockdown information, and financial support options to help salons affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic...
Ireland has returned to its highest level of coronavirus restrictions. All non-essential retail including salons are to close for six weeks (reviewed after four) until December 1st. All being well, salons will be able to open on December 1st.
COVID Restrictions Support Scheme
Whereas a result of the restrictions, a business has been required to temporarily shut their premises or operate at significantly reduced levels, that business will qualify under the scheme. Qualifying taxpayers will be able to log on to Revenue Online Service and register for CRSS as soon as possible.
The registration process will include providing details such as the location of the business and average weekly turnover for 2019. The claims process will be available from mid-November. Once they have registered, a taxpayer will be able to make a claim for the period their business is restricted from operating. Revenue will publish guidelines on the registration process and on the operation of the scheme in due course.
The relief will operate as a cash payment equal to 10% of the average weekly value of the 2019 business’s turnover up to €20,000 and 5% thereafter, subject to a maximum weekly payment of €5,000, for the same number of weeks as the restricted period.
The scheme will operate on a self-assessment basis and is conditional on the taxpayer continuing to file all tax returns on time, holding a current tax clearance certificate and on the intention to resume the business when the restrictions are lifted. The Scheme will run from 13th October 2020 until 31st March 2021.
Employer Wage Support Scheme
EWSS is an economy-wide enterprise support that focuses primarily on business eligibility. The scheme provides a flat-rate subsidy to qualifying employers based on the numbers of eligible employees on the employer’s payroll and gross pay to employees.
- Employers must possess valid tax clearance to enter the EWSS and continue to maintain tax clearance for the duration of the scheme.
- A reduced rate of employer’s PRSI of 0.5% is charged on wages paid which are eligible for the subsidy payment.
- Seasonal and new hires are eligible for the EWSS and claims can be backdated to 1 July 2020 (subject to limited exceptions). Employers can complete a ‘sweepback’ template providing details for each eligible employee.
- Subsidy is based on an employee’s gross weekly wage, including notional pay, before deductions, and excluding non-taxable benefits.
Pandemic Unemployment Payment
The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is available to employees and the self-employed who have lost their job on or after 13th March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be in place until April 2021.
You can apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment if you:
- Are aged between 18 and 66 years old and
- Are currently living in the Republic of Ireland and
- Have lost your job due to the COVID-19 pandemic or
- Have been temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic or
- Were self-employed and your trading income has ceased or reduced due to COVID-19 to the extent that you would be available to take up full-time employment and
- Are not in receipt of any income from an employer and
- Are genuinely seeking work
A rate change was announced on 19th October and is effective from Friday 16th October, therefore payments made on Tuesday 27th October will include the new rate of €350.
- If you earned €400 or more - you will receive €350
- If you earned between €300 and €399.99 per week - the rate of the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is €300 per week
- If you earned between €200 and €299.99 per week - the rate of the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be €250 per week
- If you earned less than €200 per week - you will receive €203 per week, which is the same as the primary rate of Jobseeker's Benefit
Close Contact Guidance
Full details on the guidance that salons and freelancers must follow during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.
Salon must carry out a full risk assessment to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
Hand Washing and Hygiene
- Regular hand washing with soap and water is effective for the removal of COVID-19.
- Ensure that appropriate hygiene facilities are in place to accommodate workers adhering to hand hygiene measures.
- Make available advice and training on how to perform hand hygiene effectively.
- Display posters on how to wash hands in appropriate locations.
- In addition to hand hygiene, good respiratory hygiene and etiquette is also necessary.
- Provide tissues as well as bins/bags for their disposal.
- Empty bins at regular intervals.
- Provide advice on good respiratory practice.
- Physical distancing is recommended to reduce the spread of infection. The current recommended distance to be maintained between people to minimise risk of transmission is 2 metres.
- Organise workers into teams who consistently work and take breaks together. The teams should be as small as is reasonably practicable in the context of the work to be done,
- Organise breaks in such a way as to facilitate maintenance of physical distancing during breaks,
- Reorganise and rearrange working and break areas. For example, placing tables and chairs far enough apart in canteens,
- Implement a queue management system with correct distance markings to avoid queues,
- Put in place use of card payment methods where practicable,
- Allocate specific times for collections, appointments, and deliverables,
- Ensure that workers sharing collective accommodation at a place of work are grouped in fixed teams that are as small as is reasonably practicable and consist of individuals who also work together. As far as is reasonably practicable,
- Accommodation must be regularly cleaned and ventilated either manually (by opening windows and doors) or mechanically.
- Prevent gatherings of workers in the workplace at the beginning and end of working hours (such as at time recording terminals and in changing rooms, washrooms, and showers),
In settings where 2 metre worker separation cannot be ensured by organisational means, alternative protective measures should be put in place, for example:
- Install physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze guards between workers,
- Maintain at least a distance of 1 metre or as much distance as is reasonably practicable,
- Minimise any direct worker contact and provide hand washing facilities, and other hand hygiene aids, such as hand sanitisers, wipes etc. that are readily accessible so workers can perform hand hygiene as soon as the work task is complete,
- Make face masks available to the worker in line with Public Health advice.
- Cleaning of work areas must be conducted at regular intervals.
- Implement thorough and regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. If disinfection of an area is required it must be performed in addition to cleaning, never as a substitute for cleaning.
- Ensure contact/touch surfaces such as tabletops, work equipment, door handles and handrails are visibly clean at all times and are cleaned at least twice daily.
- Implement modified cleaning intervals for rooms and work areas. This applies especially for washroom facilities and communal spaces. Cleaning should be performed at least twice per day and whenever facilities are visibly dirty.
- Provide workers with essential cleaning materials to keep their own workspace clean (for example wipes/disinfection products, paper towels and waste bins/bags).
- Increase number of waste collection points and ensure these are emptied regularly throughout and at the end of each day modify use of hot desks to ensure that these are made available to identified staff and have appropriate cleaning materials in place for workers to clean the area before using.
Use of PPE – Personal Protective Equipment
While correctly using PPE can help prevent some exposures, it should not take the place of other preventative measures as outlined above. Examples of PPE include gloves, goggles, respiratory protection. In situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, then cloth coverings/masks/visors must be worn.
Employers must provide PPE and protective clothing to workers in accordance with identified COVID-19 exposure risks and in line with Public Health Advice.
Workers should be trained in the proper use, cleaning, storing and disposal of PPE.
Gloves are generally not required for infection prevention and control purposes. Where gloves are necessary, they must not be considered a substitute for hand hygiene and hands must be cleaned whenever gloves are removed. Gloves should not create an additional occupational hazard (such as of gloves getting caught in rotating parts).
Further information on PPE is available at: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Topics/Personal_Protective_Equipment_-_PPE/.
Customer Facing Roles
Many of the measures noted above for workers can and should equally be applied for work activity that involves direct customer or visitor contacts.
- Eliminate physical interaction between workers and customers as much as is reasonably practicable.
- Provide hand sanitisers at entry/exit points.
- Install physical barriers and clear markings to ensure that contact between workers and customers is kept to a minimum and to ensure that queues do not form between customers as they wait to be served.
- Implement a cleaning regime to ensure that contact points for workers and customers are kept visibly cleaned at all times.
- Display the advice on the COVID-19 measures in visible locations to ensure that customers are also adhering to what is required.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
Air conditioning is not generally considered as contributing significantly to the spread of COVID-19. Switching off air conditioning is not required to manage the risk of COVID-19. For organisations without air conditioning adequate ventilation is encouraged, for example, by opening windows where feasible etc.