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The Revised Work Safely Protocol has been published. What are the implications and what does it mean for your business?

27 October, 2021

The Revised Work Safely Protocol (the “Revised Protocol”) was published on Friday the 22nd of October and includes an updated guidance note which was issued by the Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF) on the 20th of October last. The Revised Protocol has been described as a technical update with minor changes to reflect the most up-to-date Public Health advice as well as the LEEF Guidance.

In short, the plan to lift restrictions has been halted and the guidance that has been in place since the 20th of September is to remain, for the moment.  The Work Safely Protocol will continue to apply in full, setting out the minimum infection prevention and control measures required to be taken by employers and workers such as physical distancing, the wearing of masks and increased ventilation.

It is important to note that the guidance remains that employees and workers should continue to work from home as much as possible, however, in line with Public Health advice, the return to physical attendance in workplaces should continue to take place on a phased and cautious basis appropriate to each sector and for specific business requirements.

A cautious and careful return to workplaces should take into account appropriate attendance levels, the use of staggered arrangements such as non-fulltime attendance and flexible working hours, and that attendance is for specific business requirements.

Leo Varadkar has stated that “Essentially, what we’re saying is that a staggered return to workplaces and the office is possible. So people can go back to the office for a specific business purpose — a meeting or training, for example, or inductions.”

LEEF has stated that the interpretation of the guidance will depend on the specific circumstances of each workplace and should be considered following consultation with workers.

The Revised Protocol outlines important measures for workers to follow to include staying at home if unwell, getting tested and, a new addition, getting vaccinated.  Any employee who develops symptoms must stay at home and stay out of the workplace, get tested and self-isolate in accordance with Public Health guidance and employers should facilitate this.

Consultation and caution are key considerations for employers to ensure a successful return to the workplace. In considering how best to manage a return to the workplace employers should review the Revised Protocol and the LEEF Guidance note. We have also attached a link to our article on the Practical Implications of the September version of the Work Safely Protocol most of which is still applicable.
www.fod.ie/publications/the-updated-work-safely-protocol-practical-implications-of-the-updated-guidance/

Full details of the Work Safely Protocol can be found at https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/Publications/Work-Safely-Protocol.html

For more information please contact Caoimhe Heery, Partner at Email: caoimheheery@fod.ie , or phone  +353 87 2935332 or any member of the FOD Employment Team.

This article is current as at 26th of October 2021 and is provided for information only and does not constitute legal advice.

About the Authors

Caoimhe Heery

Caoimhe Heery

Partner

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