COVID 19 – Advice for Employers

The outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has evolved rapidly. The Department of Health is leading the government response in Ireland to this national public health risk and is providing up to date information and advice on its website at:

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre HPSC is also providing advice for the public and for specific groups and settings including employers, healthcare professionals, education settings and religious settings.

Exposure to COVID-19 may present a health risk to workers and other persons at a workplace. Employers are advised to follow the latest public health advice and identify and implement suitable control measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection in the workplace. These public health measures should be communicated to all relevant employees and others at the place of work.

In workplaces where the nature of the work poses an occupational exposure health risk to COVID-19 such as healthcare and laboratory settings, employers are required to ensure that detailed biological agents risk assessments are carried out. These will need regular review and updating and will be based on current best practice in relation to infection prevention and control. Control measures must be communicated to all relevant employees and others at the workplace. Further information on employer duties under the Biological Agents Regulations is available here on the HSA website.

For other workplaces where there is no occupational exposure health risk to COVID-19, employers should take into account the most up to date official advice and guidance from the Department of Health and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre on how to mitigate the health risk to employees and others at the place of work. This should also include measures advised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for work related travel.

Employees should follow the public health official advice and guidance including ensuring good hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing and respiratory etiquette, to protect against infections and should seek professional healthcare advice if unwell. The following video clip provides some useful advice:

Further advice & guidance

The HPSC has issued guidance for businesses and retail sectors:

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) has issued an FAQ for Human Resources (HR) in the Civil and Public Service in relation to leave associated with COVID-19:

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has provided a checklist of preparatory actions in responding to COVID-19 Business Continuity Planning:

The World Health Organization has issued advice on practical measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces or to travelling employees: