Thursday, 21 May 2020
Outbreaks of Covid-19 in Meat Processing Plants: Statements
Heather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
I thank the Deputy. This protocol concerns employers and employees working together. It has been developed on the basis of collaboration between, among others, the unions, employers, IBEC and ICTU. We have all worked together, as have the HSA, the HSE and the officials in all the different Departments.
This protocol has been a collaborative effort and I expect the same will apply in the workplace. There are many employers who shut down their premises early to protect their employees, and I have no doubt that they will continue to protect their employees and put in place the necessary protocols.
This is a living document. As the public health advice on various issues changes, it will be reviewed and the necessary changes made. The situation will be monitored. A stakeholder forum has been established through the Labour Employment Economic Forum, LEEF, which will oversee the implementation of the protocol, including any change that may be introduced along the way. If there are concerns from employers or employees, those can be brought together through the relevant organisations. The protocol can be reviewed and we are happy to work with everyone.
The Deputy mentioned how some businesses had to adopt new protocols to adhere to the new rules. A grant called the restart grant is available and applications for it to local authorities can start tomorrow. It is a minimum of €2,000 and a maximum of €10,000, depending on the rates one was due to pay last year. There will be a simple, online, one-page form, the grant will be paid through the local authorities and it will open for applications tomorrow.