The government is set to provide paid leave to the partners of healthcare workers in order to tackle the issue of limited childcare during Covid-19.
The scheme will apply to partners who work in other parts of the public sector, where they will be supported by their employer to stay at home to care for children.
It is estimated that more than 8,000 healthcare staff are in need of childcare during the crisis.
The Government has today announced two agreements made with the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) to address the problem.
The first measure relates to circumstances where one parent/guardian/partner is an essential health care worker. In this case, the other parent/guardian/partner will be supported by their public sector employer to remain at home.
In the first instance, flexible working arrangements will be put in place for the other parent/ guardian/partner such as working from home or working adjusted hours/ shifts.
In the event that flexible arrangements do not allow the essential health worker to attend work it will be dealt with on a case by case basis, a government spokesperson said.
NPHET said this measure will be implemented as soon as practical.
The second measure relates to allowing childminders to come into workers’ homes after 5th May. NPHET has indicated that this will be reviewed as part of its consideration of a phased reduction of social distancing guidelines which are already in place.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is working to finalise the details of the scheme that could be implemented “as soon as public health guidance allows”.