Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) is not supported. For the best experience please open using Chrome, Firefox, Safari or MS Edge

The Government recently announced the return of a number of COVID-19 measures that had been lifted last month. Some of these measures will have a direct impact on the workplace. With effect from midnight on Thursday 18 November, everyone should return to working from home, unless it is necessary to attend the workplace in person. The advice remains in place until further notice, meaning that employers may have to roll back policy changes in terms of requiring employees to return to the office.

The new COVID-19 measures that were announced on 16 November 2021 are as follows:

  • Everyone should work from home unless it is necessary for them to attend their workplace. The guidance prior to this was to have a phased and cautious return for “specific business requirements”. This changed with effect from midnight 18 November 2021.

  • Household close contacts who are fully vaccinated and showing no symptoms must restrict their movements until they have 3 negative antigen test results within 5 days. This came into effect immediately.

  • All on-licenced premises will close at midnight, with all customers having to vacate at that time no matter what type of event is taking place. This came into effect immediately.

  • COVID-19 passes, based on vacciation or recovery from COVID-19 will be required for cinemas and theatres. This came into effect immediately.

The Government again emphasised the importance of compliance with the protective measures set out in the Work Safely Protocol. The Protocol was updated and published this week to reflect the new working from home advice. More inspection activities in terms of compliance with COVID-19 measures are also expected.

Despite the reintroduction of these measures, there has been no change to the plans to reduce the PUP (Pandemic Unemployment Payment). Therefore, from 16 November 2021:

  • The €250 PUP rate has been reduced to €203, and

  • The €300 PUP rate has been reduced to €250

The Government is continuing to offer economic supports to businesses affected by the pandemic on both a general and sectoral basis. This assistance includes:

  • The EWSS (Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme)

  • Tax warehousing

  • A targeted commercial rates waiver

  • Low-cost loan schemes, and

  • Grant programmes.

The deadline for new entrants to these business support schemes may be extended into the new year if more sectoral closures are put in place before the end of this year.


Employers should take note of the Government’s guidance and update their return to work policies accordingly. Employers should refer to the Work Safely Protocol to ensure that workplaces operate in a manner which prevents the spread of COVID-19. Employers should also bear in mind that under current Irish law, they still cannot make vaccination a condition of the return to the office or ask employees for details of their vaccination status.

For more information or if you would like to discuss the potential impact of this issue on your business, please contact a member of our Employment & Benefits team.

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.

Share this: