Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has called on staff to “name and shame” any employers who are making it difficult for them to take time off to get vaccinated.
Speaking on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show, Mr Varadkar urged such employers to “have a heart, basically.”
Any employers who were not flexible with their staff should be named, he said, as it was “common sense” to allow staff to get vaccinated.
He said he understood there were exceptions when staff received a vaccination appointment at short notice, but in most cases there was sufficient advance notice to allow changes to work shifts.
Employers really should let their staff take time off work to get vaccinated and not have their wages docked, he said.
When asked about comments he made on Wednesday about the size of weddings in August, when he cautioned couples to plan for 50 guests, Mr Varadkar said that nobody wanted their wedding to become the source of an outbreak.
In response to a suggestion that hotels and venues could check the vaccination status of guests, he said the issue would be what to do with guests who were not vaccinated.
Mr Varadkar also defended the decision to allow unvaccinated children under the age of 18 to accompany their parents into premises for indoor dining under the new guidelines.
He said he recognised this was “a calculated risk” but the Government had taken the view that they did not want to separate parents from their children and their household bubbles.
Indoor dining would be in a vaccinated environment where social distancing would continue to be observed and people would have to wear masks when moving away from the table. It would be table service only in bars and people would still have to provide their details when they arrived at which time their Covid certs could be examined. “It makes sense to do it at the point of entry,” he said.
There would also be updated guidelines on ventilation focusing on issues such as airflow and C02 monitoring, he added.
Mr Varadkar said there was a risk when people thought that guidelines were something that other people should have to do.
The Tánaiste also urged people not to call the Covid travel certificate helpline with queries that were related to other issues such as travel information or indoor dining. The line was exclusively for the travel certificate, he said.
Mr Varadkar said that 17,000 certificates had to be reissued because of problems with the fada in people’s names. “That shouldn’t have happened,” he acknowledged.
He said the Attorney General was working hard with different Government departments on finalising the indoor dining regulations, calling him “one of the hardest working people” he had ever met.
“We’re all working hard to get this done,” he said.