​Re-opening and return to office

See guidance and supports for re-opening your business and return to office.

re-opening

Government information

The Government has published detailed information to help businesses prepare to open on the Gov.ie website. This includes the 'five phases' for reopening beginning on 18 May 2020, and the financial supports available for companies returning to work.

To support workplaces in adapting their operations to protect public health, the Government has also published a detailed 'Return to Work Safely Protocol'.

Return to office

Work Safety Protocol

The Work Safely Protocol is designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace as the economy begins to slowly open up, following the temporary closure of most businesses during the worst phase of the current pandemic.

COVID-19 National Protocol for Employers and Workers

These checklists have been prepared to help employers, business owners and managers to get their business up and running again in a way that will help prevent the spread of Covid. This checklist addresses ventilation, which is one of the key control measures to reduce the transmission of Covid in the workplace. It is important that in following this guidance, your building continues to comply with existing health and safety, fire safety and building regulations.

Health and Safety Authority business electronic safety management and risk assessment tool

Law Society resources

The Support Services team has produced a Guideline for Legal Firms on Returning to Onsite Working. The guide is based on the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business recently issued by the Irish Government.

A Guideline on Remote and Flexible Working Arrangements is also available, with practical guidance on implementing remote working within a law firm, flexible hours and more.

Sample contact log

In order  to comply with the Return to Work Safely Protocol (page 6), firms must maintain a contact log to record attendance at their offices of clients, suppliers, or other visitors. The objective of this is to facilitate contact tracing in the event of a staff member or visitor being identified as having Covid-19.

There is no prescribed format for the log, but it should facilitate easy identification and contacting of visitors and relevant staff and at the same time minimise data collected to conform with GDPR. At a minimum it should contain:

  • Visitor’s name (Printed)
  • Mobile telephone number
  • Company/Firm name, where relevant
  • Internal firm contact
  • Time of arrival and departure.

To fulfil normal data protection law requirements, you should note:

  • The contact sheet should have notice (e.g. “This data is being collected at the direction of the HSE and will only be used for the purposes of Covid-19 contact tracing and for no other purpose. It will be retained for no longer than 3 months”).
  • Data collected should be used for this purpose only.
  • Logs should be removed daily and retained securely for an appropriate length of time.
  • Reception, security and other staff should be trained in the use of the log.
  • Pens should not be provided: visitors should use their own pen.
  • Sanitisers, etc., should be available at the location of the contact log.

The Law Society has produced a Sample Covid-19 Contact Log.