Do not pressure staff to return to office, Varadkar tells employers

Leo Varadkar said there is clear evidence that some staff are 'drifting back' to workplaces
Do not pressure staff to return to office, Varadkar tells employers

Sarah Mooney

Employers should not pressure their staff to return to offices or workplaces as Covid-19 restrictions ease, the Tánaiste has warned.

Leo Varadkar said there is clear evidence that some staff are “drifting back” to the office.

Mr Varadkar, also the Minister for Employment, urged employers to allow staff to continue working from home whenever possible.

“With daily new cases still in the mid-hundreds, there remains a high risk of new outbreaks occurring if large numbers of people return to the workplace,” he said.

“There is clear evidence that some people are drifting back to the office or the workplace, and new data from the CSO this week shows that more people are moving beyond 10km of their homes.

“I particularly want to remind employers that staff members should not be pressurised to return to work. Daily case numbers remain high, as do the numbers in ICU.”

'Not at that point yet'

Mr Varadkar said working from home had played a “huge part” in the State’s fight to contain Covid-19.

“It will be one of the most effective tools as we enter the next stage,” he said.

“I know a lot of people are tired of working from home and are keen to see colleagues again, but we have to stick with this for a few more months. When we go back to the office, we want it to be in a safe and sustainable way. We are just not at that point yet.”

He added: “This is a significant week in our fight against the pandemic as thousands of construction workers go back to work and all pupils return to school.

“The easing of some restrictions, such as allowing two households to meet outdoors for social or leisure purposes and the end of the 5km rule, should lift everyone’s spirits in this long battle.

“With this increase in movement, employers and their staff should remember there is no change to the official advice to continue to work from home if at all possible.

“While the vaccination programme is making great progress, and 20 per cent of adults have received at least one vaccine at this point, we still have a few months to go until everyone has been fully vaccinated.”

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