Too early to reconsider 2m rule in workplaces – McGrath
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath has said the Government would like to see people return to the workplace as soon as possible, but for now it is about holding on to the gains already made.
Speaking on his way into Cabinet this morning, he said it is too early to say if the two metre social distancing rule could be reconsidered in line with a return to the workplace.
Mr McGrath said the Cabinet will seek to protect tenants impacted by Covid-19 from rent increases and evictions until next January.
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien will bring the plan to Cabinet, which will apply to people who are renting but are in arrears and make a declaration that they cannot pay due to the pandemic.
The current protections are due to expire on 12 July.
The Government is also expected to agree plans to restrict upfront payments to a value no greater that two months’ rent.
But a student who wants to pay more upfront for certain types of college accommodation can do so and they will also have to give a maximum 28 days’ notice to end these tenancies.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is also set to bring proposals to Cabinet to provide a minimum level of protection to employees, who have no entitlement to company sick pay schemes.
The legislation will state that this does not prevent employers offering better terms or unions negotiating for more through a collective agreement.
The Government will consider these proposals to phase in a statutory sick pay scheme over possibly three or four years.
This will start with a statutory minimum number of days per year from 2022 onwards and it would increase in the following years.
Government sources said the statutory sick pay will be phased in to help employers, particularly small businesses, to plan and manage the additional costs which will be capped.
Around half of employers already provide sick pay but many workers, including some lower paid, have no such protection.
Reporting Micheál Lehane and Samantha Libreri