Posts Tagged ‘Covid19’

What employment changes are effective from January 2022?

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

COVID-19 Update

Because of the large numbers of COVID 19 cases, the Government advice on testing and how to manage the close contacts situation is evolving and our advice is to continue to check our updates and also the HSA news feeds.

As of today 5th January 2022, the rules on testing is as follows:

1.If you have COVID-19 symptoms:

  • are aged between 4 and 39 then you should self-isolate immediately. You should take regular antigen tests instead of booking a PCR test. If you have a positive antigen test – then you should book a PCR test to confirm that you are COVID-19 positive. If you have repeated negative antigen tests you should still self-isolate for 48 hours after your symptoms have gone
  • if you are over 40 years old you should seek a PCR test as soon as you display symptoms of COVID-19
  • children aged 3 or under should be booked for a PCR test as soon as they display symptoms of COVID-19
  • if you are a healthcare worker then you should still book a PCR test as soon as you show any symptoms of COVID-19

2. If you have an underlying condition which puts you at higher risk of severe disease (or if you have a clinical concern) then you should contact your GP and be advised as to what is appropriate.

Claiming Covid Benefit of €350.00 per week

You can apply for the Covid-19 enhanced Illness Benefit if you:

  • Are suspected of having Covid-19 and are told by a doctor or the HSE to self-isolate or restrict your movements or
  • Are diagnosed with Covid-19.

To qualify for the payment you must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 66.
  • Have a medical certificate called a ‘Certificate of incapacity for work’ from a doctor or have a text or letter notification from the HSE to support your application.
  • Be confined to your home or a medical facility.
  • Be employed in at least one of the 4 weeks before your medical certification and have a current contract of employment, if you are an employee.
  • Have worked immediately before your medical certification and will have reckonable income in the current contribution year, if you are self-employed.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

SSP is an employment right, which is due to come into effect over the next few months, where employees are entitled to claim 3 payable sick days.

Sick pay will be paid by employers at a rate of 70% of an employee’s wage, subject to a daily threshold of €110. The daily earnings threshold of €110 is based on 2019 mean weekly earnings of €786.33 and equates to an annual salary of €40,889.16.

From 2023, the number of days will rise to 5 days and 7 days in 2024, and eventually by 2025, employers will be required to cover the cost of 10 sick days per year for all employees, either part time or full time, temporary or permanent, once the employee has completed at least 6 month’s service with the employer, their eligibility is established once they can provide a medical certificate.

Once entitlement to sick pay from their employer ends, employees who need to take more time off may qualify for illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection subject to PRSI contributions. In regard to the requirement of a doctor’s cert, employers can “choose” to trust their employees and not require one but that it is “reasonable” to include it in the Statutory requirement.

More information can be found here.

National minimum wage

The National minimum wage is increased from the 1st of January by 30 cent from €10.20 to €10.50 per hour.

More information can be found here.

As an employer can I insist that an employee returns to the workplace if they do not want to?

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

Managing HR is challenging at the best of times! We are here to answer your queries and provide up to date HR advice on what is impacting businesses today.

Welcome to our weekly Q&A – if you have a question email us at

As an employer can I insist that an employee returns to the workplace if they do not want to?

Firstly they will need to complete the Return to Work form where they can state if they have a valid reason not to return, such as a vulnerable relative living with them or a health condition that would make them at risk.

You will then need to discuss this with the employee to understand any potential risks and what action might be taken to minimise these. It would be advised at this point to carry out a full risk assessment and, if necessary, consult with a medical professional, before making any decision.

As an employer, you are obliged to provide a safe working environment that complies with government health and safety regulations and in doing so the current advice is that you can ask an employee to return to the workplace on that basis.

Need more help? Voltedge Management team can help you to get advice on all aspects of human resources and management. Email Ingrid at or ring our offices at 01 525 2914.

Reimagining Ireland’s Talent Seminar CIPD Ireland

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

Join CIPD Ireland on 23 June for a half day of collaborative dialogue, as they explore the need to build momentum to develop the capabilities and roles required for the future, support access to work and reduce inequalities post Covid-19. Voltedge Co-Managing Director Joyce Rigby-Jones will be one of the speakers.

As the economy starts to reopen, we in the people profession need to start thinking and addressing:

  • how jobs and roles are changing
  • the skills required for the future
  • what steps need to be taken to further develop the labour force, so it is ready for the future, and
  • how can we influence the value proposition of Ireland to attract talent

Leading on from our annual conference, this dynamic and collaborative seminar, which is FREE to all active members and conference delegates, is designed to further support the learning in the new changing world for our members and wider community

The sessions will discuss:

  • How good is Ireland at attracting the talent we need?
  • What are the labour market challenges post-Covid-19?
  • How are jobs changing and evolving?
  • How do we ensure that we are building the skills required for the future?
  • How can inclusion enable the delivery of your talent strategy and culture?
  • How can the people profession deliver on these issues at a national and organisational level?
  • Where do we, as a profession and a nation, go from here?

Don’t miss out on your chance to contribute to championing a better future and register now!

Note: Conference delegates will be notified directly

Please Note

Cancellations MUST be notified in writing.

A cancellation fee of 25% of the full fee will apply to cancellations received up to 16 June 2021. No refund can be made for cancellations received after 16 June 2021. A substitution may be made at any time.

CIPD reserves the right to cancel or reschedule the event or change its associated programme or substitute a speaker. In the event of cancellation, liability is limited to the amount of registration only.

For your security and peace of mind, CIPD and its subsidiaries will not supply your details to any organisation for marketing purposes. By submitting this request you confirm that you agree to the use of your information as set out in CIPD’s privacy policy. We reserve the right to include your name in a list of delegates at the event.

Non-members may click here to sign up to receive our e-newsletters which will keep you up-to-date with HR news in Ireland as well as CIPD Ireland events and survey research.

Professional photography and video production may be taking place at the event and these images may be used on future promotional materials for CIPD. Please note that by attending the event, you are giving your consent for your image to be used on any CIPD promotional materials.

Please click here to register.

Emerging Through Covid-10 – The Future of Work Webinar with Enterprise Ireland

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

Voltedge Management is delighted to invite you to join our webinar together with Enterprise Ireland, ‘Emerging Through Covid-19 – The future of work’, which takes place on Tuesday, 22 June 2021.

The aim of the webinar is to assist companies as we prepare to embark on a new era of work post-Covid-19.

How has Covid-19 impacted the world of work? How might the introduction of hybrid or fully remote teams change the way you do business? What new skills will you need to attract, motivate and engage your employees?

The webinar will consider these and other topics related to how Covid-19 will affect the work environment in the future. Join us as our panel discusses the questions and the HR-related challenges that will face Irish companies.


  • Fredericka Sheppard, Joint Managing Director, Voltedge Management Ltd.
  • Joyce Rigby Jones, Joint Managing Director, Voltedge Management Ltd.
  • Karen Hernandez, Senior Executive, Client Management Development, Enterprise Ireland

Discussion topics will include:

  • Understanding how Covid-19 has impacted the world of work, from a global and Irish perspective
  • Consider how the changes brought about by Covid-19 impact your company and how you manage your employees
  • Understand what practices you need to implement to continue to attract, engage and develop your employees in a post Covid-19 era

The webinar will be hosted by RTÉ broadcaster and journalist Della Kilroy.

Date and time: 10am on Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Click here to register.

Transitioning Back to the Workplace Webinar

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

As the country progresses through a phased re-opening of the economy and society, the return of employees to the workplace has now become a priority for many companies. In a Covid-19 environment, thoughtful preparation and planning are essential to ensure a safe and successful return to work.

The webinar, hosted by Jonathan Healy will provide expert guidance from Fredericka Sheppard and Joyce Rigby Jones, Joint Managing Directors of Voltedge, about the steps companies should implement to support the smooth transition of employees back into the workplace.  You will also hear about the range of Enterprise Ireland supports to assist you navigate this process.


Thursday 25th of June 10am – 11am

This webinar will discuss: 

  • The role of the employer in ensuring the continued health, safety and well-being of employees
  • Communicating and engaging with employees around their return to the workplace
  • Resource planning and restructuring of roles and responsibilities
  • Data privacy, security & GDPR.

Who should attend?
This webinar is open to Enterprise Ireland clients and other manufacturing and internationally traded services companies with 10 or more employees.


Podcast: Co-Managing Director Joyce Rigby-Jones chatting with Linda Ward

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

Voltedge Co-Managing Director Joyce Rigby-Jones is chatting with Linda Ward, MD at Retail Renewal about how retailers can support their employees and what you need to put in place before you can open the doors to your shop.

This podcast is all about helping retailers to come to terms with the new reality of trading during a pandemic. When can you reopen? What do you have to do before you reopen? What level of turnover can I expect? When will trading be back to pre-pandemic levels? How can I make my customers and staff feel safe?

Linda: So what are the most important steps that people need to take now in terms of retailers going back trying to re-open their stores and thinking about all the things that they have to do? In relation to the staff that they employ, what are the most important steps that they need to take in that area?

Joyce: The most important thing is to look at this as a major continuity plan and put in place a plan and appoint a contact. We are advising all our clients to appoint a Covid-19 Coordinator; that person will take on the role of making sure that the organisation is in tune with what’s happening or that they’re following all the government and HSE advice that’s coming down the line. So the Coordinator is really pushing out information to the employees, keeping them on track, being a point of contact if they have any concerns.

So if an employee is worried about something, they can go directly to this person. In a small retail environment, that’s probably going to be the owner, but in some organisations is going to be a senior person who will take on that role and very much drive it. The really important thing is to make sure that employees know what they’re doing in terms of Covid-19 and how to deal with that in the workplace, and this Coordinator will drive that behaviour and remind them constantly of what is important in terms of the social distancing, the hygiene aspects but also how to deal with each other and customers, as they start going back to work. 

Linda: So before they get to that point of going back to work, what are the three steps, what is the sort of preparation that an employer can do and what sorts of things do they need to be thinking about before they open the doors and before they bring the staff back in?

Joyce: The employer has a duty of care to provide a safe workplace for their employees so it’s vital that they think about this. They should do a risk analysis, they will be putting in all the physical issues and actions that you’ve been going through with them in terms of shields of prospects but really they need to look at the risk analysis if one employee has backup support, have they kept maybe a couple of employees separate so that they are doing either shifts or having people coming in at different times so they’re not in contact with each other, and may want to look at checking their employees’ personal details – do they have their emergency contact person, have they got their correct addresses and phone numbers etc. and also they need to be looking at whether their employees have any issues with regard to coming back to work, perhaps they have an underlying illness themselves or maybe they’re living with someone they have concerns about.

The employer needs to be empathetic about this and actually understand personal situations, so we really need to be very close to employees and understand what’s going on in their personal lives. They may be delighted to come back to work or they may be quite scared so the owner/manager and the Covid-19 Coordinator, whether they’re the same person or not, they really need to be talking to them one-to-one and finding out how they’re going to come back. We have a pre-return to work questionnaire which is a questionnaire just checking if the employees are ready to come back and that they haven’t got any reason not to come back, and that is always important to check out as well. 

Linda: So that is like a questionnaire you’d give out to your employees before they come back to make sure that they’re ready and happy to come back and not suffering from any symptoms presumably? 

Joyce: Exactly. They’re confirming that to you and obviously, on an ongoing basis, you’re going to be checking this with employees but it means when they come back, you know that there is no issues and you are not going to worry about them coming back. 

Linda: And what about any sort of induction training that you need to give staff or anybody that is coming back to work in your organisation?

Joyce: It’s very important that you have a plan of action to ensure that you’re giving them all the information they need in terms of the protocol of return to work which the HSE and the have given. The NSAI also have a very detailed document which goes through this but basically, what we’re trying to do, is reinforce the safe hygiene elements of returning to work but also talking to the employee about whether they need to bring in their own lunches, whether they need to look at how they’re going to get to work because potentially they shouldn’t be using public transport and also things like how do they deal with a customer if they’re in a retail environment, perhaps if they come up too close to them, how do they actually react, what do they do about this; so it’s a practical view as well of the issues that will arise in the workplace when that employee starts back again.

Linda: It sounds like communication is going to be really really important.

Joyce: Communication is key and I think that every owner or manager should be putting a Covid-19 communication discussion on the agenda every single day, so reminding employees what they need to be doing in terms of their own hygiene and also reminding them about what they need to do if customers come in, to say what they need to say to them and also talk to them about any risks or concerns they have, so it’s really a daily issue. Owners shouldn’t assume that employees know this and understand everything; they should assume that they need to be talking to them every single day until they’re absolutely confident that this is just a natural part of our normal working life again.

And I think the other issue is just being careful about how they’re looking at other things like holidays, and this has been a big issue for many employers – what do we do about holidays? We can’t go away, we can’t go to Spain or anywhere else so all the employees who had planned their summer holidays are going to say – well I don’t want to take them because I don’t have anywhere to go. Employers need to have a plan in place that addresses this, so they need to look at potentially asking employees to maybe take a couple of days a month away and also planning for at least a five day break from work in the next few months because we all need a break away even if we are going to be sitting at home, we need that break from work. So planning holidays, looking at the number of holidays that all the employees have, do an assessment, look at what you need to do about this and then start talking to the individuals and tell them that you may not be able to carry holidays to any great extent in 2021, so they need to be aware about this.

Linda: I think that’s true. I think the last weeks have been quite intense in many ways and, just talking personally, I had planned to go away for two weeks at Easter time to see my family and I couldn’t go because I couldn’t travel so I worked through those two weeks but I really miss the break and I really feel now that I haven’t had a break since last September really. I am going to take a break in ten days time and I am going to spend it sitting in the garden reading a book but at least it will be a break from the day-to-day routine and it will be a different way of being in the same place I suppose. I think it’s quite important that people actually do take that time just to be, because it has been a really stressful time for an awful lot of people and a very worrying time; living with uncertainty is not easy. 

Joyce: I totally agree with you, and even though we sort of think – well, if I take a day off, I might just gonna sit at home – well, maybe that’s what you need to do, maybe you just need to relax and do something different; we’ll have some of the shops open again shortly and we need to really be supporting our local retailers as well so maybe we go out and go to the garden centre and do something like that. It is something an employer needs to plan and they need to be talking to the individuals about this.

The other issue that Voltedge was looking at, when we were looking at the whole Covid-19 issue was the Covid-19 Curve and this is a curve that was originally devised for people going through a bereavement or a major grief and it was developed by a lady called Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969 and it shows the way we go through different phases when we’re going through a major crisis which we’re going through now, and we start off at the shock phase, which I think we all did way back in February when we heard that this virus was coming, and then we move into some sort of denial and we think it’s not really going to affect me, and then we realise that it is affecting all of us hugely, and then we end up moving into the frustration part of the curve, we maybe have never worked at home before, or maybe we’ve been laid off and we have to sit at home, we’re very worried and really concerned about what’s going to happen to our jobs. Often some people will go deep into a depressive time and feel very low, we’re missing our friends and family, we can’t see our close family and that’s been extremely difficult for employees, so again, employers need to be thinking about this.

We’ve all been through a lot of stress, we all need support, this isn’t a time for being difficult, we all have to help each other. When we’re coming out of the curve though, we’re moving into experimenting and thinking of innovative ways of how we’re going to live and deal with this uncertain world, and we’re seeing wonderful ideas coming through in the retail and other sectors where people are thinking of ways to make sure we can move forward and get used to a different reality. And we will get there, we will eventually get to a stage where this is the new normal and we will be used to it, but it’s interesting, some people will fall backwards, down the curve again, they’ll have a bad day and they’ll feel very low, and it’s up to us to understand that and bring them back up and help them move along the curve.

Linda: I can identify with that. I identify my feelings along that curve too. Just to get back to another practical thing of what retailers need to think about, what should they do if somebody comes in the shop one day and they say ‘I think I might have some symptoms, they might be Covid-19 symptoms but I’m not sure’ – what should the retailer do in that situation? 

Joyce: I think the immediate thing is to refer them to the guidelines in the HSE and they should immediately self-isolate if they think there are genuine risks of a Covid virus case. The employer should be saying to that individual ‘you need to go home, self-isolate, call your GP immediately and talk to them about what happens next’.

Linda: It also really highlights the need for social distancing and all the hygiene measures that there are advised during various protocols and how important they are, and how, if you follow them, they actually do work. There’s still a chance that, even if you have the right protocols in place within your workplace, some of your employees could still be exposed to the virus somewhere else, but if everybody did their bit in trying to keep the protocols in place, then we’re going to minimise the spread of the virus. 

Joyce: Yes and we know that there are lots of businesses that have continued to run the essential businesses and they have managed to control this really well and there is no reason why even a small employer can’t ensure that their workplace is very safe. But it is a constant reminder, it’s constant communication, and if you have a case that arises, that maybe somebody has picked up the virus somewhere else, you’ll have a plan and a risk analysis done so that if Joyce or Linda are going out sick, you have replacements, you have a back-up plan, you’re ready to run with it, so it’s all about the planning, preparation and communication.

Linda: What I’ve been taking from our conversation is the fact that communication and empathy is really important to understand where your co-worker or employee is coming from and to really reflect back to what their concerns are and make sure you address them. Empathy is needed because everybody is in a different situation. Some people might have a difficult home life or they might have a vulnerable person at home, so as an employer, you need to be aware of that and to respect that in a way that possibly pre-Covid we may not have done in quite the same way. 

Joyce: You are quite right, pre-Covid we would have been saying there are GDPR issues, for example that we shouldn’t known a lot of information, we don’t need to know information about our employees, their home lives, but actually, with Covid-19 upon us, this is the time when employers need to have enough information to ensure that they can manage the employee, support that employee, and if it means knowing a bit more about their personal lives than before, that’s what they need to be doing.

So when employees will hopefully be very open and say ‘listen I had difficulty getting into work or I am worried about a vulnerable relative’, that needs to be talked through and it needs to be looked from a risk assessment, but most employees are looking so forward to getting back to work, that it’s something they’re really happy to do and we want to facilitate that, but we have to, as employers, ensure that we are providing a safe and healthy workplace for them to return to.

Linda: And also in terms of it’s going to be safe and healthy for the customers too, because otherwise the customers are not going to come in, if they don’t feel confident that the precautions are in place, then it’s going to be difficult to attract people to come into your store.

Joyce: I think we’re seeing that already. Some stores are really excellent in terms of the way they manage their customers coming in and out and others aren’t and I believe that those stores that are really thinking through this and have good planning in place, they are the ones that are going to benefit from sales because customers will come to them first. And I know myself, even going to different supermarkets, I would be very conscious of the ones that are good and really looking after my health and safety when I go in as opposed to the ones that maybe aren’t so good.

Linda: It’s sort of bringing the whole transnational nature of retail into a very human space.

Joyce: I think so, and it will make us very different in the way that we treat employees and customers and that’s actually not a bad thing, I think it’s really good that we are knowing that we need to be looking after each other more and be much more considerate and careful and that’s a really nice thing so there are good things that will come out of this crisis. 

Listen to the podcast episode here.

The COVID-19 Curve

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

How can employers work through the Covid-19 curve and support their employees through it?

The COVID-19 virus has created a huge crisis throughout the world, and all businesses are having to take radical decisions on a daily basis.  We are all in completely uncharted territory, and we and our employees may be struggling both professionally and personally to find our way in these challenging and changing times.

Working off the original Kubler-Ross curve that was utilised originally in the 1970s (Elisabeth Kübler-Ross 1969) for people going through grief, we have taken the curve and looked at the reactions that we and our employees may be going through.

We have taken our version of the COVID-19 Curve and considered the following:

  • Today – where are you now on this curve? As an employer hopefully you can move through the curve reasonably quickly as you need to be coming up the end of the curve to support your employees – everyone will work through the curve at a different pace. Some need more time than others, but as employers, we need to be driving positive behaviour and supporting employees as they struggle in the frustration and depression stages.
  • Phases & stages – recognise that each phase and stage is different and will pass. What can you do to help yourself and others move through each phase? By understanding where you and your employees are on this curve, you can provide the particular support they need e.g. if you have an employee who is really struggling and is depressed or feeling very isolated, you need to support them more to move to the next stage. Do you need to give more information or emotional support or is guidance and direction more appropriate at this stage?
  • Acceptance – by accepting our situation and moving to a more positive place, we can rationalise how we are going to continue to work in a changed world – and also make sure that there are the supports in place for ourselves and our employees. The world of work will never be the same again, so it’s vital to accept this and understand the implications. Employers have a responsibility to continually communicate to all employees as more details become available.
  • Integration – this curve gives us an understanding of the natural highs and lows we will all go through over the next few weeks and perhaps months. It will help us to understand and accept your own and others’ behaviours and responses and can give you a real understanding of why some people behave and react in certain ways.

Employers, and their employees, can have bad days and revert back to depression/frustration – they then need to work through the curve again to hopefully move to acceptance and integration.

Employers can significantly help employees by driving strong messages giving employees clear direction and strategic detail so that employees can feel they are getting more control over their working lives. In a crisis that none of us have ever experienced, the key to moving forward is to feel – both personally and professionally – that we are gaining some control over our lives.

Voltedge would like to reassure you that we are fully operational and there are no disruptions to our services. We are following government guidelines and have facilities in place to host virtual meetings and webinars in place of face to face meetings. We understand that each situation is personal to your needs, and we can work with you to customise a plan that works best for your business right now. We are available between 7am and 11pm on, 087 220 1673 or 01 5252914.