Thursday, 19 March 2020
An Bille Sláinte (Caomhnú agus Cosaint agus Bearta Éigeandála Eile Ar Mhaithe Le Leas an Phobail), 2020: Céim an Choiste agus na Céimeanna a bheidh Fágtha - Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
Denis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
I have three brief points. The first follows on from Deputy Catherine Murphy's issue. During Second Stage I highlighted that the Covid-19 payment is for people who have to self-isolate because they are infected with the virus. I refer, however, to people who have a medical certificate because they could end up dying if infected with Covid-19, as they are in the high-risk category. Those people are not eligible for this payment and that is an anomaly. People in that category have a similar medical certificate and have to self-isolate and yet they are not eligible for this payment. This anomaly needs to be addressed.
The second aspect is that employers who made top-up payments in the last two weeks to comply with social distancing are now being advised those payments cannot be recouped from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Those payments were given out in good faith and this should not be the case now. The Minister might address that point.
The third issue is that some companies have an official policy not to allow people work remotely. I have instances of people using computers continuously daily and their employers are refusing to allow them to work remotely, although technically they can. What mechanism is there for those people to deal with employers or for the Government to engage with those employers?