Restrictions reintroduced: How will the new measures affect businesses?

The Irish Government has announced that new restrictions will be implemented on businesses in Ireland. These restrictions are coming into place in an effort to curtail the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

While the increase in COVID-19 cases in Ireland has been a cause for concern for everyone, this move represents a step backwards for all businesses, especially those who had recently begun to welcome their employees back into the workplace.

What restrictions are coming into effect?

Key points for employers following this announcement include:

  • From Thursday, November 18th, hospitality businesses such as restaurants, bars, and nightclubs must close at midnight.
  • From Friday, November 19th, people will be asked to work from home unless it’s necessary to attend the workplace in person.
  • COVID passes will be required to enter cinemas and theatres.
  • Anyone living in a household with someone who is a confirmed case of COVID-19 is to restrict their movements until they have three negative antigen test results within five days.

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) also began to decrease in stages from November 16th, with the €250 rate reducing to €203 per week.

How are employers affected?

While the implementation of new restrictions might not be welcome news for employers, it’s important that remote working policies are fit for purpose. This applies to both HR and health & safety practices, as it’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure remote workers have a safe environment to work in.

Another issue is the midnight curfew. This will impact thousands of employers and employees, and staffing needs will have to be assessed. After all, the festive season is fast approaching and employers may need to adjust their rotas to ensure that employees meet their contracted hours.

It’s also of crucial importance that employers conduct appropriate risk assessments, get their policies and documentation in order, and if applicable, be aware of the support, financial or otherwise, available to them.

Health & safety resources

For essential health & safety resources when managing COVID-19 and the Work Safely Protocol, use BrightSafe.

With BrightSafe, you can manage all your health & safety tasks in one place online. You can create risk assessments to HSA standards, including COVID-19 risk assessments, take CPD-accredited e-learning courses, and much more.

Find out how BrightSafe can help you today.

Expert advice from Graphite consultants

Graphite consultants are experts in employment law and know how to manage all HR issues that might arise during this challenging time.

If your business needs help, contact us on 01 886 0350 or request a callback here.

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Nora Cashe


Nóra studied Law in Griffith College Dublin and qualified as a Barrister in 2008, practising in the area of Criminal law. She is also member of the Irish Employment Law Association.

Nora has extensive experience representing clients at Employment Tribunal hearings, Conciliation / Mediation meetings before both the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. 

Nóra is a member of the Irish Employment Law Association and engages with the WRC Adjudication Service as part of their stakeholder engagement forum.

Deiric McCann

Genos International Europe

Deiric McCann leads Genos International Europe – The EU division of a world-leading provider of emotional intelligence solutions. 

With over two decades experience at the highest levels of management, Deiric supports clients to develop the resilience, emotional intelligence, psychological safety and engagements of their employees.

Rhiannon Coyne

Graphite HRM

Rhiannon Coyne is a Senior HR Consultant at Graphite HRM and will be providing an overview of best practice on how to deal with complaints of bullying and harassment in the workplace. 

With a number of recent updates to employment laws, Rhiannon will take a closer look at employment equality and how it is interlinked to Health & Safety and what employers can learn from recent case laws.

David Begg

Workplace Relations Commission

David Begg was appointed Chairperson of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in January 2021.

David is also a professor at Maynooth University Institute of Social Sciences. Mr Begg’s extensive history in the trade union movement included leading the ESB Officers Association and Irish Congress of Trade Unions, stepping away from the latter in 2001 to chair international aid agency Concern.

David Begg was also previously a director of the Central Bank of Ireland between 1995 and 2010.