Thursday, 15 October 2020
Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment
25. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment his views on the level of discretion afforded to employers at the different levels of the Living with Covid-19 plan in deciding if work on site is necessary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30562/20]
The Living with COVID-19 Plan is the Government’s roadmap for living with the next phase of the pandemic. It has three broad strands which are, Staying Healthy, Keeping our Businesses Strong and Keeping our Communities Resilient. The Plan sets a Restrictive Measures Framework composed of five levels which recognises the need for an incremental approach which takes account of the societal and economic impacts of the response to infection outbreaks.
The application of public health advice measures to suppress the transmission of COVID-19 is intended to minimise the risks to public health while striking the right balance in prioritising other activities and essential services.
The Living with Covid-19 plan sets out how businesses should operate at each level of the Restrictive Measures Framework. The current advice under level 3 is that employees should work from home unless it is absolutely necessary to attend in person. It is essential that employers do everything possible to ensure that this is the case.
In instances where employees have returned to the physical workplace the employer must ensure that the public health measures set out in the Return to Work Safely Protocol are being fully adhered to. The Protocol operates in parallel with existing workplace health and safety statutory requirements and sets out in very clear terms for employers and employees, in all business sectors, the steps that they must take on an ongoing basis to mitigate against the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.
The Workplace Contact Unit of the Health and Safety Authority can be contacted in confidence by anyone with concerns regarding workplace health and safety matters, including compliance with the Return to Work Safely Protocol, by phone (1890 289 389) or email (email@example.com) and the matter will receive the appropriate attention.