Weekly Q&A – What if an employee is not ill, or vulnerable or in any special category but does not want to return to work during COVID-19?

Your latest HR Questions, Answered

Managing HR is challenging at the best of times! We are here to answer your queries and provide up to date HR advice on what is impacting businesses today.

Welcome to our new weekly Q&A – if you have a question email us at info@voltedge.ie.

What if an employee is not ill, or vulnerable or in any special category but does not want to return to work during COVID-19?

The first step is to try to re-assure the employee that you are putting measures in place to mitigate the risks in the workplace. If the employee cannot be persuaded, then consider if you can allow them to work/continue to work remotely. Under level 5 guidance, where the employees can work remotely, they should. Only business-critical roles should be considered for return to the workplace.

If an employee remains unwilling to follow the company advice, in theory you could consider enacting disciplinary action but the employer must be taking all reasonably practicable steps to manage the risks in the workplace. However, this should only be a last resort in the current circumstances. Any misconduct/dismissal would likely be regarded by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) as unfair and disproportionate in the current situation.

Need more help? Voltedge Management team can help you to get advice on all aspects of human resources and management. Email Ingrid at info@voltedge.ie or ring our offices at 01 525 2914.