Government employees should only attend their normal workplaces where organisations deem it to be essential that they should work on site, according to the latest guidelines for managers issued by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The guidelines state that all employees who can work from home should continue to do so, adding that this is in line with public health guidance to avoid all non-essential journeys and limit social interactions.

The Department advises managers that where employees do not have access to remote working, employers should explore every possible avenue of making a suitable arrangement including opportunities for work which can be performed at home, both inside and outside the organisation, "as critical services come under increasing pressure".

The guidelines also indicate that where there are limited opportunities for remote working in an employee's current role, organisations should identify those suitable for redeployment under the temporary assignment scheme introduced to address pressures due to the Covid-19 virus.

That scheme will be used to ensure critical services continue to be delivered over the coming weeks and months.

Where public servants fall ill with or have to self-isolate due to the virus, they are entitled to "special leave with pay".

However, the guidelines note that they are not entitled to special leave with pay if they are absent to care for children or others during the Covid-19 emergency.

They say that if an employee is at home and not ill, he/she is considered to be available for work, and should be assigned work to complete in their home.

The document states: "If remote working in their current role is not feasible, then the assignment of work may be outside their usual core duties/a new role as required by the Public Service for example: Contact Tracing, Payment Processing, or any other work identified".