Anne O'Connell Solicitors | View firm profile
On 31 January 2022 the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, published The Transitional Protocol: Good Practice Guidance for Continuing to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 (“The Protocol”), an update to the Work Safely Protocol last published 14 January 2022.
The Transitional Protocol has been prepared to reflect the Government announcement on the 21 January 2022, which eased restrictive measures implemented due to COVID-19. The sudden announcement effectively brought an end to the requirement to continue to work from home where possible. As of 24 January 2022, employees can now return to the workplace on a phased basis.
The Transitional Protocol is a general document applicable to all sectors, which places a greater emphasis on ‘guidance’ and ‘best practice’ to support the safe return to work and safe operation of the workplace. In line with this, it has been emphasised that it is not designed to prohibit the introduction of specific measures in particular workplaces or sectors.
The Transitional Protocol sets out measures/steps to be followed by employers and employees to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces, with specific detailed guidance in relation to:
- Keeping a COVID-19 Response in place;
- Maintaining policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of symptomatic workers;
- Maintaining COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Measures ; and
- The role of the worker in the workplace and community settings.
Takeaway for Employers
On foot of the latest public health and government advice and the Transitional Protocol, employers who have specific guidance should review and update their own guidance in line with the advice contained within the Transitional Protocol.
Employers should ensure that any Health and Safety plans are updated and ensure safety risk assessments are carried out where necessary.
Within the Transitional Protocol, the Government has also called on employers, in consultation with their employees, to start to develop or finalise their long-term arrangements for blended or remote working. Draft legislation has been published to formalise this and information can be found on this elsewhere in the Newsletter.
- Protocol https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/Publications/Publication-files/Transitional-Protocol-Good-Practice-Guidance-for-Continuing-to-Prevent-the-Spread-of-COVID-19.pdf
- Press release https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/63ba6-transitional-protocol-good-practice-guidance-for-continuing-to-prevent-the-spread-of-covid-19/
Authors – Ethna Dillon and Anne O’Connell