Fórsa has endorsed a plea from HSE boss Paul Reid, who wrote to his staff last week urging them to work from home unless it was essential to come into the workplace.
The union’s head of health, Éamonn Donnelly said that, while most health staff had been required to attend workplaces during the crisis, those earmarked for remote working should continue to work from home until official guidance changed.
Reid wrote that admin, technical and management staff had risen to the challenge during the crisis, along with so-called frontline staff. But he said he’d noticed employees “gravitating back to work” too soon.
Acknowledging that remote working had been difficult for many, he said it remained necessary to protect the health and safety of all workers, “even though for many of us it does not provide ideal interaction.”
Reid said the HSE had an extra responsibility to ensure that it did not “inadvertently contribute to the very problem that together we have been trying so desperately to resolve.”
“Please remember that it remains the case that ongoing physical attendance at HSE workplaces is only permitted where the work that you do can only be done when physically present in the office, and cannot be done remotely,” he wrote.
The HSE followed up with an official circular, which said managers were responsible for identifying work that could be done remotely.
Last week Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he thought it would be September before Ireland saw a mass return to office-based working.
The country is still broadly working under ‘level five’ Covid restrictions. The official economy-wide Government advice at level five is that employees should work from home unless they perform “an essential health, social care or other essential service,” which “cannot be done from home.”
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