Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020

Cited as:IR No. 1/2020
Jurisdiction:Ireland


Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020

2020 1

An Act, to make exceptional provision, in the public interest and having regard to the manifest and grave risk to human life and public health posed by the spread of the disease known as Covid-19 and in order to mitigate, where practicable, the effect of the spread of the disease known as Covid-19, to amend the Health Act 1947 to confer a power on the Minister for Health to make regulations prohibiting or restricting the holding of certain events or access to certain premises and to provide for enforcement measures; to provide for powers for certain medical officers of health to order, in certain circumstances, the detention of persons who are suspected to be potential sources of infection with the disease known as Covid-19 and to provide for enforcement measures in that regard; and to confer on the Minister for Health the power to designate areas as areas of infection of Covid-19 and to provide for related matters; to amend and extend the Social Welfare Acts to provide for amendments in relation to entitlement to illness benefit for persons who have been diagnosed with, or are a probable source of infection with the disease known as Covid-19; and to provide for amendments in relation to jobseeker’s benefit and jobseeker’s allowance to mitigate the economic effects of the spread of the disease known as Covid-19; and to provide for related matters.

[20 3 2020]

WHEREAS an emergency has arisen of such character that it is necessary for compelling reasons of public interest and for the common good that extraordinary measures should be taken to deal with the immediate, exceptional and manifest risk to human life and public health posed by the spread of the disease known as Covid-19;

AND WHEREAS the State is and its citizens are, in significant respects, highly exposed to the effect of the spread of the disease known as Covid-19; and having regard to the constitutional duty of the State to respect and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate the rights of citizens to life and to bodily integrity, it is necessary to introduce a range of extraordinary measures and safeguards to prevent, minimise, limit or slow the risk of persons being infected with the disease known as Covid-19;

AND WHEREAS as a consequence it is necessary for the State to take the measures in this Act to address the emergency and to defend and vindicate the rights of citizens to life and to bodily integrity;

Be it enacted by the Oireachtas as follows:

1 Preliminary and General

PART 1

Preliminary and General

S-1 Short title and construction

1 Short title and construction

(1) This Act may be cited as the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020.

(2) The Social Welfare Acts and Part 2 shall be construed together as one Act.

S-2 Commencement and operation

2 Commencement and operation

(1) The amendments effected by sections 4, 5 and 6 shall be deemed to have come into operation on the 9th day of March 2020.

(2) The amendments effected by sections 7 and 8 shall be deemed to have come into operation on the 13th day of March 2020.

(3) The amendments effected by—

(a)

Part 2, subject to subsection (4), continue in operation until the 9th day of May 2020, and

(b)

Part 3, continue in operation until the 9th day of November 2020, unless a resolution approving of the continuation of Part 3 has been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas.

(4) The Government, at the request of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection following consultation with any other Minister of the Government as he or she considers appropriate having regard to the functions of that Minister of the Government, may where they are satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so, from time to time, by order declare that all or any of the amendments effected by Part 2 shall continue in operation for such period or periods as may be specified in the order concerned.

(5) An order under subsection (4) shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling the order is passed by either such House within the next 21 days on which that House sits after the order is laid before it, the order shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

2 Amendments to Social Welfare Acts

PART 2

Amendments to Social Welfare Acts

S-3 Definition

3 Definition

3. In this Part, “Act of 2005” means the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005.

S-4 Amendment of section 21 of Act of 2005

4 Amendment of section 21 of Act of 2005

4. Section 21 of the Act of 2005 is amended, in subsection (1)(e), by the substitution of “illness benefit granted to a person to whom section 40(7) applies, invalidity pension” for “invalidity pension”.

S-5 Amendment of section 40 of Act of 2005

5 Amendment of section 40 of Act of 2005

5. Section 40 of the Act of 2005 is amended—

(a) in subsection (1), by the substitution of the following paragraph for paragraph (b):

“(b) he or she satisfies the contribution conditions in section 41 or such conditions as may be prescribed in accordance with regulations under section 40A.”,

and

(b) by the insertion of the following subsections after subsection (6):

“(7) Subject to subsection (8), this subsection applies to a person who is incapable of work, or is deemed to be incapable of work, by virtue of—

(a) being certified in the prescribed manner by a registered medical practitioner as being a person—

(i) who is diagnosed with Covid-19, or

(ii) who is a probable source of infection of Covid-19,

(b) having been notified, in the prescribed manner, by a medical officer of health or such other person as may be prescribed, that he or she is a probable source of infection of Covid-19,

(c) being deemed, in accordance with regulations under section 40A, to be a probable source of infection of Covid-19, or

(d) being a person in respect of whom an order under section 38A(1) of the Health Act 1947 is in force.

(8) Notwithstanding subsection (7), the Minister may prescribe a category or categories of persons who, by virtue of the terms and conditions (expressed or implied) of their contract of employment, shall not be entitled to illness benefit in respect of absences from employment arising from their being a person to whom subsection (7) applies.

(9) Notwithstanding subsection (2), a person to whom subsection (7) applies shall be entitled to illness benefit on and from the first day of any period of incapacity, or deemed incapacity, for work.

(10) Notwithstanding anything in this Act, the Minister may, in respect of a person to whom subsection (7) applies, prescribe the minimum contribution conditions to be satisfied.

(11) Notwithstanding anything in this Act, in respect of a person to whom subsection (7) applies, the Minister may by regulations under section 40A vary the rate of illness benefit for such period as may be prescribed.

(12) In this section and section 40A, ‘Covid-19’ means a disease caused by infection with the virus SARS-CoV-2 and specified as an infectious disease in accordance with Regulation 6 of, and the Schedule to, the Infectious Diseases Regulations 1981 (S.I. No. 390 of 1981) or any variant of the disease so specified as an infectious disease in those Regulations.”.

S-6 Regulations in respect of persons to whom section 40(7) applies

6 Regulations in respect of persons to whom section 40(7) applies

6. The Act of 2005 is amended by the insertion of the following section after section 40:

“40A. (1) The Minister may, following consultation with the Minister for Health, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and having regard to the matters specified in subsection (2), make regulations for the purposes of giving full effect to the relevant provisions and such regulations may, in particular, but without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, provide for all or any of the following:

(a) the matters referred to as prescribed by the relevant provisions;

(b) the procedure by which, and manner in which, a person is certified to be a relevant person;

(c) notwithstanding the generality of paragraph (b), the procedure by which, and manner in which, a person is deemed to be a probable source of infection of Covid-19;

(d) the requirements in relation to which, and the manner in which, a relevant person shall notify the Minister of the circumstances of his or her incapacity, or deemed incapacity, for work;

(e) additional conditions for entitlement of a relevant person to illness benefit;

(f) such additional, incidental, consequential or supplemental matters as the Minister considers necessary or expedient for the purposes of giving effect to the relevant provisions.

(2) When making regulations under this section, the Minister shall have regard to the following:

(a) the nature and potential impact of Covid-19 on individuals, society and the State;

(b) the capacity of the State to respond to the risk to public health posed by the spread of Covid-19;

(c) the policies and objectives of the Government to protect the health and welfare of members of the public;

(d) the need to ensure the most beneficial, effective and efficient use of resources;

(e) the need to mitigate the economic effects of the spread of Covid-19;

(f) in relation to regulations made for the purposes of section 40(7)(c), the impact of the requirement for certification on the availability of resources within the health services.

(3) In this section—

‘relevant person’ means a person to whom section 40(7) applies;

‘relevant provisions’ means subsections (7) to (12) of section 40.”.

S-7 Amendment of section 62 of Act of 2005

7 Amendment of section 62 of Act of 2005

7. Section 62 of the Act of 2005 is amended by the substitution of the following subsection for subsection (4):

“(4) A person shall not, except as...

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