Businesses must be given “more autonomy” over how they reopen as restrictions are eased in the coming months, according to employers group IBEC.
In a letter to the Taoiseach, the group called for the gradual return of workers to the office to begin in early to mid-September.
It said businesses should then be able to make their own decisions about how quickly they bring all their workers back – with Government taking a back seat as things move forward.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, IBEC chief Danny McCoy said the new roadmap for reopening must be less prescriptive than previous attempts.
“Given where we are with the vaccination levels - and I am conscious of Delta providing a new challenge - it would seem reasonable to be starting that gradual return in early to mid-September,” he said.
“The completion part, really that should be at the autonomy of the individual businesses.
“Not all businesses are ever going to go back to the same model of 100% of staff in for five days a week. It will be blended in the working environment with remote working.
“But in order to start to allow people make the decisions at the appropriate level, the letter is really calling for businesses to be given much more autonomy now on this occasion to try and do what is best for their employees and of course for their businesses.”
Return to work
The IBEC letter notes that the new roadmap must allow businesses to “finally plan with certainty for a phased and safe return to office”
Mr McCoy said the letter is attempting to point out people need to be able to make their own decisions in their own homes and businesses need to make their own decisions about the workplace.
“That decision-making of when to bring people back and how to bring them back safely needs now to be handed back to the businesses as opposed to the Government making the decisions,” he said.
The letter also calls for the live entertainment industry to begin reopening no later than mid-September.
It warns that events companies face a difficult path back to viability and notes that Government restrictions should no longer be one of the obstacles standing in their way.
Mr McCoy said the group was not calling for restrictions to be ended immediately – but for them to phased out in the coming months.
“I think we need to make sure we get fully through the vaccination and whatever boosters are needed,” he said.
“It will be a blended, phased, gradual return but we need to start now.”
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