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HSE staff returning from high-risk countries must undergo two-week quarantine

HSE employees returning from designated high-risk states in relation to Covid-19 cannot return to work on-site until the 14-day post-travel quarantine has been completed, according to a recent circular. This requirement also applies to HSE employees who have been fully vaccinated and who return from a designated state.

“As this is a precautionary measure that goes beyond the current Government advice HSE management must assign the employee work that can be carried out at home for the intervening period until the 14-day period has expired,” according to the circular, which was sent on 15 June.

“This may include assigning duties outside the HSE employee’s normal role.” The circular stated this working from home (WFH) arrangement only applies from the date the employee receives the negative PCR test result (which brings the quarantine period to an end as per the Government website criteria) and covers the remaining period up to 14 days that the employee is required by HSE management to remain away from the work premises.

“Any period of quarantine that HSE employees are required to undertake upon arrival in Ireland, as per current Government advice, must be covered by annual leave or unpaid leave,” according to the circular. In relation to HSE employees who return from travel overseas, HSE managers should refer to updated HSE occupational health guideline documents on the subject.

As of 10 May 2021, in accordance with the provisions set out in these guidelines, HSE employees who travel from non-designated states and receive a negative PCR test result no less than five days after their arrival are no longer required by the HSE to remain away from the work premises until the 14-day period has ended, provided Government advice is followed. In order to protect public health, HSE employees are required to advise their employer of any intention to travel overseas.

“Where there is an intention to undertake travel overseas, all employees must make provision by way of an annual leave or unpaid leave application (which may include parental leave where eligible) to cover any requirement for a period of quarantine that may be in place upon arrival in Ireland.”

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