Employers should continue to review news updates and the guidance regularly issued by official authorities. The latest information, advice and guidelines will be published here and updated daily. The most up to date information for employees and employers can be found here. Other reliable sources include the World Health Organization (WHO) and the HSE, Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). Travel advice issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Worldometers should also be reviewed for updates on affected locations.
Employers and employees both have a general duty of care to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of employees under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. COVID-19 may present a health risk to employees and other persons at a workplace. The Health and Safety Authority is advising employers to ensure as is reasonably practicable, that an appropriate assessment of the risk for COVID-19 in their workplace is carried out.
Employers should communicate with their employees on the importance of engaging in the proper hygiene and sanitation practices and ensure additional hand sanitizing facilities are provided. Clear signage at entrances and on desk at eye level at Reception Desk to remind Customers and workers to wash hands frequently.
Implement a guide for your Business to mitigate the health risks associated with COVID-19 following HSE Guidelines. This guide should include controls and responsibilities that can be implemented within your business.
In the event of a case of COVID-19 or the need for a colleague to self-isolate at your business, please click here and visit the Health Protection Surveillance Centre’s website to find out what immediate action you need to take:
Provide staff with a clear and consistent message to deliver to Customers enquiring about your service or product by email and phone, including a reference to containment measures in place e.g. social distancing, hygiene measures, etc.
If you have a customer facing business put in place queuing measures which encourage sufficient social spacing as outlined in HSE guidelines. Determine the maximum number of visitors and staff permitted during activity that ensures social spacing requirements are met.
Plan for the impact of employee absences, and determine alternative approaches or reallocating staff from non-essential tasks. The Company is not obliged to pay Employee while absent on sick leave, unless provided in their contract of employment. Absence on sick leave due to an infectious disease will be treated the same as absence of sick leave for any other reason. The Employee will be entitled to claim Illness Benefit from the State provided he/she has sufficient Social Insurance contributions.
The Government has asked people to stay at home if at all possible and to only leave to go to work if attendance at the workplace is absolutely essential. Allow and encourage employees to work remotely/from home if it is possible to do so. Provide the necessary supports and accesses for employees to work remotely. Where it is not possible for employees to work from home, implementing practical measures to prevent the spread of virus in the workplace.
For more information please contact Clodagh Gill, Solicitor.
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