(This blog post covers legislation between 20th March – 8th April)
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/402 entered into force on 16 March 2020 and will apply for a period of six weeks. These Regulations will impact on exporters of certain types of personal protective equipment (PPE) and their ability to export to countries outside of the European Union as a result of Covid-19.
The European Commission has taken an immediate action of a limited duration in order to ensure that exports of PPE are subject to an authorisation in order to ensure adequacy of supply in the European Union in order to meet the vital demand. Accordingly, in Ireland, an application for an authorisation to the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation must be made in accordance with the form specified in Schedule 1 of these Regulations. The categories of PPE items subject to control are gloves, protective spectacles and visors, face shields, mouth-nose protection and protective garments.
The Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 (No. 2 of 2020) makes exceptional provision for emergency measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on workers and businesses, and the administration of crucial public service functions.
The Social Welfare (Increase for Qualified Adult) Regulations 2020 (SI No. 96 of 2020), introduced on 27th March 2020, provide that, in the context of the grave risk to human life and public health posed by the spread of the disease known as Covid-19 and the efforts being made to mitigate the economic effects of that disease, the rate of payment of the increase for qualified adults for claimants of Jobseeker’s Benefit, Jobseeker’s Benefit (self-employed), Illness Benefit and Jobseeker’s Allowance is temporarily increased.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI No. 102 of 2020) amend the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013 (SI No. 291 of 2013) to extend the validity of safety awareness registration cards which cannot be renewed as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.
As a result of the cessation of the delivery of the SOLAS Safe Pass training programme during the Covid-19 emergency, and for the period of such cessation, where the 4 year period expires after 1 March 2020, the safety awareness registration card concerned will be regarded as valid.
The Single Use Carrier Bags Charges (England) (Amendment) Order 2020 (SI 2020 No. 324) temporarily removes the obligation for large retailers to charge a minimum of 5p for single-use carrier bags intended to be used solely to carry goods purchased for home delivery as part of an online grocery delivery services. The use of Single Use Carrier Bags instead of crates for online deliveries is expected to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The exclusion of the charge is from 21st March to 21st September 2020 only.
The National Health Service (Amendments Relating to the Provision of Primary Care Services During a Pandemic etc.) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 351) amends existing National Health Service Regulations by including new provisions relating to the provision of primary care services by GPs, chemists and dentists during a pandemic or where one is imminent. Various measures are put in place to deal with matters arising as consequence of a disease being, or in anticipation of a disease being imminently, pandemic and a serious risk or potentially a serious risk to human health – essentially in order to assist in the management of the serious risk or potentially serious risk to human health.
The Social Security (Coronavirus) (Further Measures) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 371) add further measures to those introduced in the Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit (Coronavirus Disease) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 289). These Regulations make provision for those who are making a new claim for or have been awarded Universal Credit (UC), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Housing Benefit (HB) to provide additional support. This support will help both individuals and the wider economy weather the financial impacts arising from the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 365) provide an exception relating to the effects of coronavirus to the bar on carrying forward untaken leave under regulation 13 of the Working Time Regulations 1998. Untaken leave may be carried forward and taken in the following two leave years. The Regulations entered into force on 26th March 2020.
The Feed-in Tariffs (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 (SI 2020 No. 375) extends the deadlines by which applications for accreditation can be made for certain eligible installations under the Feed-in Tariffs Order 2012. This will provide small-scale renewable electricity generators with extra time to apply for accreditation under the Feed-In Tariffs scheme following unavoidable delays in commissioning their projects caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI No. 350 of 2020) entered into force on 26th March 2020 and expire after six months. To protect against the risks to public health arising from coronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)), the Regulations require the closure of certain businesses. The Regulations also prohibit anyone leaving the place where they live without reasonable excuse and ban public gatherings of more than two people.
The HSE has published guidance on “RIDDOR reporting of COVID-19“. This guidance addresses dangerous occurrences, exposure to biological agents and work-related fatalities in the context of COVID-19. They have also published guidance on “First aid cover and qualifications during coronavirus (COVID-19)“. This guidance provides advice to businesses where first aid cover is reduced because of the coronavirus.
In Scotland, the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (2020 asp 7) enacted on 6th April 2020, extend the emergency powers of the UK Coronavirus Act 2020 (2020 c. 7) to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus. It introduces a variety of changes for Scotland with the aim of allowing the justice system and public services to cope during this period.
And in Northern Island, HSENI have published information and guidance titled: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) including health and safety related FAQs” in April 2020. They have also published an “Example risk assessment for COVID-19 in workplaces“