Fórsa is to engaging with non-commercial semi-state employers and other public sector bodies on a wide range of measures ahead of the phased return to workplaces, due to commence from next Monday (20th September).
Official guidance to employers, which was published earlier this month, stressed the need for a “cautious and careful” approach and a gradual return to workplace attendance.
Fórsa official Denis Keane said a slow and measured return to non-commercial semi state workplaces is expected. “Any return to office based work must be in line with public health guidelines and we expect that all public sector bodies will implement the protocols laid down by DPER” he said.
Fórsa has insisted that engagements between management and union representatives should encompass ‘blended’ working arrangements pending agreement on national and local ‘post-emergency’ remote working policies.
“Fórsa is in ongoing discussions with DPER on the development of a blended work policy and we hope this will be concluded by April next year. In the meantime, the guidelines clearly set out the need for flexible work and staggered attendance. Fórsa will strenuously oppose any attempt by management to revert to pre-Covid office attendance,” he said.
The official guidance on the phased return to workplaces underlines the requirement for employers to consult with staff and worker safety representatives in advance of the September 20th commencement of the return to workplaces, and emphasises the need for employers to take account of a revised Work Safely Protocol and related health and safety checklists.
It strongly advises the use of staggered arrangements like “non-fulltime attendance and flexible working hours,” and reminds employers that workplace attendance is only advised for “specific business requirements.”
The revised workplace safety protocol continues to stress the requirement for staff to work from home as much as possible in the period between 20th September and the proposed removal of most public health restrictions from 22nd October.
From then the requirement to work from home will be removed, allowing a return to physical attendance in workplaces “on a phased and cautious basis appropriate to each sector.”
Fórsa branches have been advised to seek assistance from the union if their local management moves to impose unacceptable arrangements during the phased return to the workplace.
Read the official guidance HERE.
Read about the revised workplace safety protocol HERE.
Read the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) checklists HERE.
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