Employers are to be notified if an employee tests positive for Covid-19 but without naming the worker involved, under new rules being introduced by the Health Service Executive this week.
However, the HSE stresses that it remains the responsibility of the employee to inform their employer if they test positive for the virus.
Up to now, the HSE policy was that it only informed employers that an employee had been diagnosed with Covid-19 “in exceptional circumstances where under MOH (Medical Officer of Health) legislation public health may decide otherwise”.
ISME seeks balance between privacy, health and safety
The small business lobby group ISME said notification of Covid-19 test results to employers was an issue where a correct balance between personal privacy and public health and safety needed to be achieved.
Chief Executive Neil McDonnell said that advising a business that “a” member of staff had tested positive for the coronavirus placed the company in an “invidious” position, especially if they had a significant number of employees, and did not know who the infected individual was.
“Short of closing the workplace, it gives the employer few options on protecting their full workforce.
“It also potentially exposes an employer to civil action, and potentially to enforcement action by the Health and Safety Authority,” he added.
Mr McDonnell urged the Government to address the issue as a matter of urgency.