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Information from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection [DEASP] regarding absences from work due to COVID-19

The DEASP has issued some advice for:

  • Workers diagnosed with Coronavirus
  • Workers self-isolating where advised as a precaution.

The DEASP information confirms that where an employee is diagnosed with the virus, normal workplace arrangements regarding sickness and absence should apply on the same basis as for sick leave in the usual way. Employees should submit medical certificates should to their employer.

The DEASP will pay illness benefit in the usual way subject to employee’s social insurance contributions. However, the usual payment procedure applies – no payment for the first six days.

Employees may also qualify for Supplementary Welfare Allowance based on a means test (without a six-day qualifying period).

An employee who has been instructed by a doctor to self-isolate on the basis that they are a probable source of COVID-19 infection, and where the employer does not pay the employee may also apply for income support under the same Illness Benefit and Supplementary Welfare Allowance schemes.

A person who self-isolates in accordance with the up to date HSE guidelines, but without a doctor's certificate, may apply for income support in the form of Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

Where an employer requests that an employee stay at home as a precaution, but the worker has not been advised to self-isolate in accordance with HSE guidelines, and where the employer cannot continue to pay their wages, the employee can apply for income support in the form of a Jobseeker Payment or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

Other absence arrangements in the workplace may also be applicable and employers whose staff fall within the HSE guidelines [see should consult with their staff to see if other leave arrangements can be utilised, if appropriate.

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