Weather Advisory Category
Status Orange – Wind warning
Met Éireann Weather Warning
Very strong and gusty southerly winds, with some severe and damaging gusts.
Wind warning for Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Wicklow, Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, Waterford
09:00 Wednesday 27/09/2023 to 17:00 Wednesday 27/09/2023
Status Orange – Rain warning
Met Éireann Weather Warning
Spells of heavy and occasionally intense rain, combined with very strong and gusty winds.
Cork, Kerry, and Waterford
09:00 Wednesday 27/09/2023 to 15:00 Wednesday 27/09/2023
Risk Assessment and Management
Conduct a risk assessment to determine if the setting can remain open. If directed by authorities, you must close your setting for safety reasons. If it is determined that your setting can remain open during inclement weather, the risk minimisation strategies outlined in your risk assessment should be implemented. These risk minimisation strategies should be outlined to all staff and parents/guardians.
Communication to parents/guardians and staff
Once a decision has been taken to close the service, parents/guardians and staff should be informed as soon as possible so they can make alternative arrangements. Even if you have not yet decided to close, it might be a good idea to tell them that this is a matter of consideration and let them know how you will notify them in the event that you have to close i.e., will you call them or send a text message? It is important to explain that you have taken this decision to protect the health and safety of children and to comply with the relevant legislation.
Evaluation and Review
The Management and staff of the service should conduct a review and evaluate each event after it has taken place, to ensure that all safety measures and procedures were conducted and contributed to the safety, health and welfare of the children, staff and parents attending. Outcomes of these reviews should be recorded and policies and procedures updated as appropriate.
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|If you have any queries in relation to the closures or how to communicate with parents, please call our EYES team on (01) 4057103 or by email email@example.com|
Services should consider the health safety and welfare of children, staff and parents/guardians before deciding whether they could close and/open over the next couple of days given the forecasted weather conditions. If you are in an area covered by the weather warning, as outlined above, we suggest that you undertake a risk assessment to consider if there are any health and safety risks to the children, their parents/guardians and the staff attending your service. If it is unsafe to remain open and/or to reopen your service, then you should close/remain closed. Keep informed of any new weather warnings as your response may have to evolve depending on the latest advice. Keep up to date with information locally to find out if local schools are closing. Visit the Winter Ready website from the Office of Emergency Planning. Follow social media for up-to-date alerts from your Local County Council.
Things to consider:
- How far do children/staff have to travel?
- What is the access to your premises, local roads, car parking, public transport etc?
- Will you be able to keep within ratio if some staff cannot travel due to poor conditions?
- What are the risks to your building? E.g., burst pipes, fallen trees?
- Can you comply with all requirements under the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services Regulations 2016 and Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Registration of School Aged Services) Regulations 2018
Force Majeure allows a party to suspend or terminate the performance of its obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise. The Department is under no obligation to fund ‘Force Majeure’ days and does so at its own discretion. In the event of closures, Service Providers may apply for Force Majeure by completing a Force Majeure application form and submitting it via the Hive no later than 5 days after the incident, even if the incident is ongoing, giving a brief outline of the issue and their estimated number of days’ closure.
To apply, please complete the Force Majeure application form and submit it via a request on the EY HIVE.
Force Majeure cannot be paid in conjunction with any insurance or compensation received by the Approved Provider from a third party for the same purpose.
To raise a service request on the EY HIVE with:
➢ the Programme Type “User Account Management”,
➢ the category “Force Majeure” and
➢ then selecting the relevant subcategory.
If for any reason a service is unable to access its EY Hive account in order to apply for Force Majeure, the EYPC team can be contacted by phone and requested to raise a case with the Data Management team on the Approved Provider’s behalf. EYPC can be contacted Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (10am to 5pm on Wednesday) at (01) 511 7222
Communication to parents/guardians
Once you have taken the decision to close your service, you should advise parents/guardians of your decision to close as soon as possible so they can make alternative arrangements. Even if you have not yet decided to close, it might be a good idea to tell them that this is a matter of consideration and let them know how you will notify them in the event that you have to close i.e., will you call them or send a text message? It is important that you explain that you have taken this decision in order to ensure the health and safety of children and to comply with the relevant legislation.
Communication to staff
If you decide to close your service, you are advising staff to stay at home. Individual services are governed by their own policies and procedures. Employers should refer to their staff contracts and staff handbook when making a decision in regard to pay for day(s) off due to closure. This policy should be clearly communicated to staff.
Where employees are not required to attend work, for example, because the employer has closed the service for the day or the employer asks them not to come in or to leave early, then employees should be paid as normal for that day(s).
Employers should act as reasonable as possible given the circumstances. Where the employer’s service remains open and employees are unable to attend due to safety concerns or because they need to take care of children who are off school, then there are a number of options to look at:
- Pay employees as normal
- Consider whether the employee are able to work from home
- Allow employees to take the missed time from their paid annual leave entitlement or
- Agree that employees can make up the missed time at a later date
- Allow employees to use time in lieu
Get in touch
Early Childhood Ireland’s Early Years Employer Service (EYES) can be contacted, by phone on (01) 405 7103 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org. The EYES team is here to help with any queries in relation to the closures or how to communicate with parents, so please get in touch with us if you have any questions or queries.