Latest update from LEEF engagement on managing safe return to workplace

January 24, 2022

The latest CEO Update to Ibec membership from Danny McCoy.

Dear member,

While Friday’s announcement from Government of the removal of the majority of Covid-19 public health restrictions was welcomed, the news will also have been met with many questions by the business community. Most prevalent of these revolve around how to effectively manage a safe, gradual return to the workplace. 

You will have seen in our media engagements over the past number of days, that Ibec holds that greater personal responsibility for individuals, along with greater autonomy for businesses in their office operations must be central to the Government’s approach in managing this next phase as we progress towards a return to normality. 

This afternoon, Ibec attended the Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF) Consultative Group on the Work Safely Protocol.  LEEF confirmed that the transition to office working can commence with immediate effect and encouraged employers to engage with employees to plan, prepare and engage with staff to eaffect that return in the weeks ahead.  Ibec also used the opportunity to articulate the importance of business autonomy in the return to office planning, as each business must adapt its risk management and safety requirements to meet the pace of return in their organisation and in consultation with their own teams. 

Ibec outlined that there is prevailing support from the business community to retain guidance aspects of the Work Safely Protocol as the phased return takes place over the coming weeks. At the meeting, LEEF stakeholders agreed to amend the Protocol by paring back the detail of the Work Safely Protocol and to retain the document in the form of a ‘best practice’ guidance for the transition. 

The updated guidance will reflect the fact that Covid-19 continues to be present in our communities and the return to office working must be considered in line with obligations under existing Safety, Health and Welfare legislation to provide a safe place of work. It is hoped that the revised guidance document will be finalised and published in the coming days. 

Engagement will continue to take place between Government, trade unions and employer representatives, under the auspices of the LEEF, on supporting the transition period and the return to workplaces.

As always, if you have any queries, please get in touch. 

Kind regards, 

Danny McCoy