The spread of COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus, is an exceptional circumstance with ongoing ramifications for organisations, individuals and society on every level. As the situation continues to develop and change, the CIPD will provide updated advice, resources and guidance to support employers and people professionals in their response.

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Last reviewed: 13 September 2021

With some restrictions easing from 1 September, especially for events, the phased return to the workplace will not begin until 20 September. At that point, according to government’s plan Reframing the challenge, continuing our recovery and reconnecting, attendance at work for specific business requirements may commence 'on a phased and staggered attendance basis'.

From 22 October further restrictions are to be lifted. From 22 October the government’s plan is to lift the majority of restrictions, including the requirements for physical distancing, and replace them with guidance and advice to protect ourselves and to live our lives to the fullest extent possible. The approach will bring a gradual move from regulations to personal responsibility and employers will need to reinforce safe working practices.

The Working Safely Protocol will be updated to support this transition back to the workplace in advance of 20 September, and the reduction in the Pandemic Unemployment Payment entitlement will continue.

We recommend that employers work with employees on reopening their workplaces and provide direction on their future plans to help reduce uncertainty and anxiety.

Wellbeing and mental health remain an ongoing concern for managers and employees and our HR practices in Ireland 2021 survey identified anxiety about return to the workplace. Our wellbeing hub provides resources designed to support you, your managers and organisations on health and mental health. 

Key content

Hybrid working

View our resources to explore the key issues that employers need to consider in managing hybrid working

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View our list of resources on supporting employees who are affected by long COVID

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Resources and guidance to help you

Click on the icons below to see a list of relevant resources.

Need more help? CIPD members can call our Employment Law Helpline on 1800 812 603 to get advice on all aspects of Irish employment law. Members are entitled to 20 calls per year (25 if you’re a Chartered member). The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We know that our members and customers are facing challenging times and we are here to help you. Due to a high number of calls we apologise that your wait time may be longer than usual. We appreciate your patience and will connect you to an expert adviser as soon as we can.

CIPD position

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is an exceptional event posing a threat to worker health and safety and a risk to business operations. 

As a new virus, it’s unclear how long the threat will last so organisations must plan for weeks and possibly months of disruption. 

Employee health, safety and well-being during this time is paramount. Employers need to be proactive in protecting their people and minimising the risk to staff and business continuity. The people profession needs to be at the forefront of the plans and critical decisions being made about the workforce. 

They must recognise that many of their people will be anxious about contracting the virus and how they might cope financially if they are to be absent from work. Constant communication with the workforce and early action are key.  

By swiftly adopting agile and flexible working practices, and being generous with sick pay for example, organisations will be better positioned to contain the coronavirus and minimise disruption to business. 

Even so, the risk cannot be completely eliminated. Governments, employers and employees must all be ready to take additional steps to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.