Farmers and agricultural workers advised to carry identification

The Government has decided that everyone should stay at home until April 12, except for a number of specific situations – one being for purposes of work deemed an “essential service”.

Numerous roles in agriculture, food production, machinery and community work fall into the defined essential services category – alongside other front-line worker roles in health; transport; communication; public administration and many others.

Tonight, Saturday, March 28, the Government has supplied a full breakdown of essential workers who can continue to operate – whilst strictly abiding by the HSE’s personal safety and hygiene protocols.

Essential workers in the agricultural sector include:
  • Farmers;
  • Farm labourers;
  • Farm relief service workers;
  • Others involved directly or indirectly in crop and animal production and related activities (including veterinary services).

Essential workers in the manufacturing sector – with links to agriculture – are also outlined by Government in the document.

The manufacturing sector roles include those working in:
  • The manufacture of food and beverage products;
  • The manufacture of prepared animal feeds;
  • The manufacturing of alumina; chemicals and chemical products;
  • The manufacture of pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations;
  • The manufacture of products necessary for the supply chain of essential services; computer, electronic and optical products including semi-conductors; electrical equipment, machinery and other equipment (including agricultural and forestry machinery).

Those employed in the field of repair and installation of machinery and equipment who are also deemed essential workers include those: involved in the supply, repair and installation of machinery, equipment and industrial machinery – and equipment for essential services.

Under electricity, gas and water other exemptions include those that work in: electric power generation, transmission and distribution; extraction and distribution of gas; water collection, treatment and supply;
sewerage; waste collection, remediation activities and other waste management treatment and disposal activities.

Under community/voluntary services the Government has made special dispensation for the following roles: community and voluntary workers; those working in a publicly commissioned service, not otherwise included on the list, deployed to assist in the delivery of essential services; plus volunteer services operating under the local authority emergency management framework in accordance with public health guidance.

Guidance

The Government has stated that workers listed in the categories of essential services are permitted to travel to work – subject to compliance with the guidance below:

If you carry out an activity that is necessary for the continued provision of an essential service by another organisation or you are part of an essential supply chain, you should continue to carry out that activity.

“To the maximum extent possible, that should be done remotely.

“The Government also recognises that many companies in Ireland are critical to global supply chains that are responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and many companies also perform critical global roles in other aspects of medicine, as well as security, cyber, cloud and data centre infrastructure.

“It is intended that these essential global roles are encompassed within this national guidance.”

What employers should do?

Employers are advised by Government to refer to its guidance to decide whether your organisation is providing an essential service; it is not necessary to seek official authorisation.

If providing an essential service, it is stated that the employer should identify those employees (including sub-contractors and so on) who are essential to the provision of that service and notify them. This can be done by category of employee or by individual; it could include all employees of the organisation.

If the employer is providing an essential service, it is stated that the latest public health guidance should be followed at all times.

What employees should do?

If an employer notifies an employee that they are an essential employee, or that they belong to a category of essential employees, then the employee is permitted to travel to and from work.

The Government advises that when travelling to and from work, the employee should at all times bring either a work identification or a letter from their employer indicating that they are an essential employee, as well as one other form of identification.

If an individual is self-employed – a farmer or agricultural worker – or a member of the clergy, the Government advises that the individual should carry one form of identification with them at all times.

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