We are all concerned about the safety of our staff and the children in our early years services but it’s important to be clear on the balance between safety and employee privacy under Irish law. This week’s Thursday Tip offers some guidelines on your legal limitations around employee travel and disclosure.
Employers are not permitted to request details of travel arrangements and/or destinations from employees. They can also not discriminate in any way against employees for not disclosing or volunteering such information. Equally, employers are not permitted to request copies of proof of a negative PCR test or an EU Digital Covid Certificate before an employee returns to the workplace following travel.
Where an ‘honesty policy’ or quarantine agreement following return from overseas travel may be implemented (in the case of a high-risk setting), an employer does not own the right to permit a return to work based only on production of either of the pieces of documentation.
It is worthy to note that from 19 July onwards, Ireland will operate the EU Digital Covid Certificate system to ensure that passengers arriving from overseas do not pose any unnecessary risk in their reintegration to Irish society. Passengers arriving from overseas who do not have proof of full vaccination, or proof that they have recovered from COVID in the last 6 months (this will be noted on the DCC) will be asked to produce a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before their arrival to Ireland.
Passengers arriving from any countries on the designated states list (full updated list currently available on www.gov.ie) will require mandatory hotel quarantine. All passengers will be required to fill out a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before they arrive in Ireland for the purpose of contact tracing.
On this form, a person has to declare which out of 3 options they are intending to travel with:
- Proof of vaccination
- Proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 6 months
- Proof of negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival
For more information on travelling please go to the www.gov.ie website.