Employers are being encouraged to carry out regular antigen testing on staff and will be able to offset the cost against their tax bill.
As the Irish Examiner reports, launching a new national Covid protocol for workers and staff, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said employers will be able to ask unvaccinated staff to change roles to non-customer facing roles, but the full advice around workers who refuse a vaccine is still being worked out.
Mr Varadkar said the use of antigen testing, which has divided public health opinion, is already in place in some workplaces such as meat plants and its use should be widened to other businesses.
“We are encouraging more employers to employ antigen testing in workplaces.
“In terms of the tax treatment of antigen tests, because it is a health and safety measure, employers and businesses can offset that against their taxes in terms of business expense,” he said.
However, he stressed that antigen testing should only be used as an additional health and safety measure along with proper ventilation, mask-wearing and other protections.
Mr Varadkar said 100,000 people had returned to work this week, but the advice to work from home where at all possible remains the most important advice.
“I would see a wider return to workplaces happening. Maybe in August or September, you know a phased returned to the office, a greater use of public transport and so on.
“Our objective is to enable people to return to work, to do so safely and to stay safe once they return to work,” he said.