Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
141. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to relocate civil servants who commute long distances to work using the bus or train that run the risk of infecting vulnerable members of their household on their return; if remote working can be put in place in all Departments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5713/20]
Guidance issued by my Department states that, during this period of COVID-19, public service employers should facilitate flexible working including working from home, where possible, in circumstances where employees are living with at risk individuals. Where it is not possible to perform one’s role at home and the employee is required to attend a workplace as an essential worker, they should follow the HSE guidelines on social distancing to minimise risk of transmission. There are other flexible working options that employers can offer to employees in addition to home working arrangements e.g. staggered hours, wider opening hours. These measures can help facilitate segregation of the workforce and social distancing as well as support employees in managing caring responsibilities at home.
As per the Government announcements throughout March and April, everyone was required to stay at home in all circumstances until 18 May 2020, unless they met certain criteria, one of which is for the purposes of work for an essential service that cannot be done from home. Only essential workers who could not work from home were present in the physical workplace, and this remains the case until the easing of restrictions is implemented via the five phases of the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. One of the principles in all five stages of the roadmap is that remote working is to continue for those who can do so and the civil and public service will be following this principle.