Please note our advice is based on current medical knowledge of COVID-19 and this knowledge is constantly evolving. The most up to date information is available on

For certain complex medical conditions, we may ask you to provide an employee with a confidential COVID-19 Medical Questionnaire. This is to clarify if an employee is in the Very High Risk category (explained below). We will review this questionnaire along with any information held on their CMO medical file. We will then issue a CMO medical report.

Sources of Work & Health Information

The most up to date sources of information are on Health Service Executive (HSE) and Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC)

The latest version of the DPER Department of Public Expenditure (DPER) Guidance and FAQs for Public Service Employers during COVID-19 Covid-19 can be viewed on

Useful resources for both employees and employers are available on the OneLearning System. These and other COVID-19 related resources are available on

Employees with Underlying Conditions

Broadly speaking there are three different risk categories that employees can be aligned to in the workplace. These are discussed below in detail.

Category (1)   General Population

These employees have no significant underlying condition. They are therefore at the same risk as the general population. They need to follow published public health advice on They can attend at work.

Category (2)   Higher Risk Group

This includes employees who

  • are age 55 or older and not fully boosted
  • have a learning disability other than Down Syndrome
  • are being treated for cancer but are not very high risk
  • have been treated in the past 5 years for a cancer of the blood or bone marrow (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
  • have been treated in the past 1 year for a cancer that did not start in the blood or bone marrow
  • have chronic heart disease (such as heart failure)
  • have chronic kidney disease with an eGFR below 30ml a minute
  • have chronic liver disease (such as cirrhosis or fibrosis)
  • have a condition affecting the brain or nerves (such as Parkinson’s disease or cerebral palsy) that affects their breathing or ability to protect or clear their airway
  • have clinically stable cystic fibrosis
  • have a serious lung condition but are not at very high risk, for example, moderate COPD, severe asthma, emphysema or bronchitis
  • have diabetes
  • are taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids)
  • have a condition that means you have a high risk of getting infections (such as HIV, lupus or scleroderma)
  • have an inherited metabolic disorder but are not very high risk
  • have obesity with a body mass index (BMI) between 35 and 40
  • have a severe mental illness (such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression)

These employees are at increased risk but are not in the very high risk / extremely vulnerable. The Department of Health advises that about one quarter of the Irish adult population over 18 years are in this at -risk group. Hence in some workplaces a large percentage of the employees may fall into this risk category. Conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes are especially common category (2) medical conditions.

In line with current advice, these employee’s can return to the workplace, but may wish to consider the use of medical grade & FFP2 masks in situations where social distancing cannot be achieved.


Category (3)   Very High Risk (Extremely Vulnerable)

This includes employees who

  • have cancer and are being treated with chemotherapy or similar drugs other than hormone therapy
  • have lung or head and neck cancer and are having radical surgery or radiotherapy
  • are having radical radiotherapy for lung cancer or head and neck cancer
  • are having certain complex cancer surgery, for example, surgery for lung cancer, head and neck cancer or oesophageal cancer
  • have advanced cancer or cancer that has spread to another part of the body
  • are on dialysis or have end-stage kidney disease and an eGFR less than 15
  • have a condition affecting the brains or nerves that has significantly affected your ability to breathe, meaning you require non-invasive ventilation (such as motor neurone disease or spinal muscular atrophy)
  • have unstable or severe cystic fibrosis, including people waiting for a transplant
  • have severe respiratory conditions including Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, severe asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, lung fibrosis, interstitial lung disease and severe COPD
  • have uncontrolled diabetes
  • have had an organ transplant or are waiting for a transplant
  • have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the last 12 months, or are waiting for a transplant
  • sickle cell disease
  • have been treated with drugs such as Rituximab, Cyclophosphamide, Alemtuzumab, Cladribine or Ocrelizumab in the last 6 months
  • have certain inherited metabolic disorders (such as Maple Syrup Urine Disease)
  • have obesity with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40

Where employee’s following vaccination are still in the Very High Risk category, the CMO’s Office can advise on whether it is feasible for them to resume work onsite. We may provide you with a COVID Risk Questionnaire for confidential completion by your employee who believes they are in the Very High Risk Group post -vaccination.

Any work accommodations we suggest may or may not be feasible depending on your local business needs. These are management / operational decisions. The CMO’s Office has no role in decisions around location of work eg whether an individual works onsite or works at home.

COVID Special Leave with Pay

COVID- 19 Special Leave with Pay applies to persons who have been advised to self-isolate and are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or have had a positive test. It is a workplace infection control measure. COVID-19 Special Leave does not apply to employees in categories (2) or (3) above who are well. It also does not apply to employees who do not wish to travel on public transport or do not wish to attend the workplace due to a vulnerable household member. COVID Special Leave with Pay is now limited to 10 days.


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