30 October 2020
Dear Project Promoter,
Further to the issue of Memo 32/20 in respect of the continuation of average payments, the purpose of this note is to update projects on the funding of staff absences due to Covid-19.
Funded absences related to Covid-19 currently include the following:
- a diagnosis of Covid-19
- requirement to isolate/shield
- caring responsibilities
- IT issues
- non-ESF work related to Covid-19, with a social/economic impact on the community
- non-availability of match-funded in-kind staff
With respect to all categories above, absences reported by projects in claims up to and including October 2020 will be funded. Going forward, from the November 2020 claim onwards, such absences will be funded up to a maximum of 4 weeks in total per post. It is expected that projects will backfill such posts if absences are longer than this period.
This decision has been taken on the basis that:
- funding for Covid-19 absences is likely to come from national funds which are already under considerable pressure;
- funding is provided to projects for specific posts as opposed to specific individuals.
As I indicated in Memo 32/20, Covid-19 absences will apply to the end of March 2021 but they will only be funded for a particular post up to the 4 week limit detailed above from November onwards. Projects should continue to inform my Claims Team of all absences using the appropriate absence template as normal and they will decide on the eligibility of all absences reported.
Given the restrictions on the availability of funding it is imperative that projects endeavour to keep such absences to a minimum.
If you have any queries, please contact your IP Manager, Jimmy Keenan or Martin O’Hagan, in the first instance.
Head of ESF Project Delivery Branch