Irish employers urged to consider reintroducing mask wearing and working from home 3 months ago

Irish employers urged to consider reintroducing mask wearing and working from home

The recommendation comes following an increase in Covid cases nationwide.

Irish employers are being asked to consider carrying out a Covid risk assessment to identify where mask wearing and working from home could benefit workers.

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The recommendation comes from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Ireland (CIPD), a professional body for HR and people development.

According to CIPD, workers have come forward with concerns surrounding the rising number of Covid cases in the country.

5,962 PCR-confirmed cases were reported on Tuesday (30 March), along with 8,587 positive antigen tests submitted through the HSE portal.

“We’re updating our advice in accordance with what we’re hearing on the ground, that people are concerned about the health of their colleagues and are having to cope with a rising level of Covid-19-related staff shortages, said Mary Connaughton, director at CIPD.

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"A risk assessment is a proactive step right now.

"If the checks show that masks and/or a renewed drive for remote working can help keep people safe and relieve pressure on resources, then we believe business should implement these reasonable steps.

“It’s understandable that any perceived step towards measures that have been lifted in the workplace could be unappealing.

"However we believe that if a risk assessment shows steps such as mask wearing and working from home can have a positive impact in some workplaces, then they may be reasonable methods to take to protect employees and resources,” Connaughton concluded.

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The Emergency Department Taskforce for the HSE is seeking to reintroduce certain public health measures amidst the current wave of positive Covid-19 cases.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has also called on the Government to reintroduce mandatory mask-wearing in crowded and indoor settings.

Leo Varadkar recently ruled out a return to mandatory mask wearing in indoor settings.

"I absolutely acknowledge that our hospitals are under enormous pressure at the moment, not just because of Covid," Varadkar said in the Dáil last week.

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"There's also the bank holiday effect, and there's also deferred demand.

"And the message from Government on masks is very much in line with public health advice.

"That it's advised on public transport, and also advised in crowded indoor spaces.

"But we don't propose to make it a criminal offence again not to do so."