COVID-19 National Protocol for Employers and Workers.
Ref: On 31 August 2021, the Government published Reframing the Challenge: Continuing our Recovery and Reconnecting, which sets out the national approach to the further re-opening of society from 20 September 2021 in advance of a further planned relaxation of restrictions from 22 October 2021.
A key element of Reframing the Challenge: Continuing our Recovery and Reconnecting, is the facilitation of a phased and staggered return to the workplace for specific business requirements with effect from Monday, 20 September.
The Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF) is the forum for high-level dialogue between Government, Trade Union and Employer representatives on matters related to the labour force. Given the importance of keeping workplaces safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, it established a consultative stakeholder group to oversee the implementation of the Work Safely Protocol. This consultative group prepared and published a Guidance note on 7 September last designed to assist employers and workers to plan for the phased return to the workplace. Ahead of 20 September, a technical update of the Work Safely Protocol has been prepared with some minor changes to reflect both the most up-to-date available Public Health advice as well as the LEEF Guidance note.
This updated Protocol remains a robust document which is applicable to all sectors of the economy. It sets out the minimum Public Health infection prevention and control measures required in every place of work to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is not designed to prohibit the introduction of additional measures in particular sectors or workplaces which could further enhance the measures set out in this Protocol.
Some minor technical updates of the Protocol are deemed necessary at this point to reflect updated Public Health advice and knowledge. These technical updates include the inclusion of new symptoms associated with the Delta variant of COVID-19 and additional information on ventilation, and vaccinations.
The Protocol also contains links directing employers and employees to a range of Government Departments and Agencies where additional and more detailed information and guidance can be sourced.
The Protocol is a general document applicable to all sectors. It sets out the minimum public health measures required in every place of work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to facilitate the re-opening of workplaces following temporary closures and the ongoing safe operation of those workplaces.
We will share any updated information provided by the Government over the coming week.