Workers returning to the office do not have to reveal vaccination status – Varadkar

Ireland now ‘one of the best in the world’ for vaccine uptake, says Tánaiste

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said Government advice no longer urged workers to stay at home where possible. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said Government advice no longer urged workers to stay at home where possible. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

 

Employers cannot insist that staff returning to work reveal whether they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has confirmed.

Revealing the latest version of the Government’s Work Safely Protocol Mr Varadkar said the vaccination programme had been an “incredible” success.

He said Government advice no longer urged workers to stay at home where possible.

But the Tánaiste said that as tens of thousands of workers return to offices over the coming weeks the protocol offers employers and colleagues no entitlement to know each others’ vaccination status.

According to the protocol as vaccination is not mandatory in Ireland, and there are no plans to make it so, employers cannot currently require staff to reveal their vaccination status.

Total doses distributed to Ireland Total doses administered in Ireland
8,557,330 7,297,243

The updated protocol reflects the most recent public health advice and reiterates public health measures such as the need to maintain physical distancing, the wearing of masks and ventilation. These measures remain critical to preventing the spread of Covid-19, the protocol says.

Commenting on the latest advice Mr Varadkar said it marked “another milestone in our recovery from the pandemic”. He said the protocol provided advice “as the phased return to the office and indoor activities” began to be permitted again.

“The biggest change since the last iteration of this protocol is the success of our vaccination programme. Over 85 per cent of our entire population over the age of 12 is now fully vaccinated, that is incredible” he said.

Vaccines and ventilation

Mr Varadkar also said Ireland was now “one of the best in the world” for vaccine uptake and expect to exceed 90 percent of people aged over 16 being double-jabbed within days.

But he warned of the ongoing need for “everyone to play their part to keep Covid under control so as we reopen, we stay open and businesses have the chance to get back on their feet and workers back to work.

“Although the public health advice no longer recommends working from home, I hope employers are speaking to their staff to figure out what works best for them and the business. We really want to see remote working become a permanent fixture of Irish working life. The pandemic has shown us that it can be done and I hope we can learn from what worked and incorporate it post-Covid,” he said.

The Work Safely Protocol was first published last year. It has been developed in consultation with employers and trade unions through the Labour Employer Economic Forum.

The main updated Public Health advice includes information on ventilation of workplaces and vaccinations to reflect new knowledge and a changing Public Health situation.

A new checklist for workplaces on for the return of employee is available on the HSA website as well as a range of other guidance material. The protocol contains links directing employers and employees to other Government Departments and Agencies offering additional detailed information

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