The largest public service union Fórsa has advised members to stay away from workplaces on public health grounds unless their employer tells them they need to attend work.

Up to now, Fórsa had recommended that its 80,000 members should go to their workplace unless told otherwise.

However, the union says that most employers have given clear direction to staff now that the "dust has settled" since the Taoiseach's "stay at home" announcement last Friday - and the union has reversed its previous recommendation.

However, Fórsa also cautioned staff that instructions from managers may change, and if their presence is deemed essential, staff should attend work.

The union notes that large numbers of public servants and semi-state staff are continuing to attend workplaces to deliver essential services, including virtually all employees in the health and social care sectors, and almost two thirds of social welfare personnel.

In addition, well over a thousand civil and public servants have been temporarily reallocated to essential coronavirus-related work like contact tracing, with further reassignments expected in the coming days and weeks.

According to Fórsa, "tens of thousands" of public servants have now been set up to work remotely.

Fórsa General Secretary Kevin Callinan said public servants and other workers had stepped up to the task of delivering vital services while observing stringent public health measures.

He said staff would continue to be flexible when requirements change but for now, the advice is to stay at home if in doubt, and to contact the union.

Fórsa has advised workers not to put themselves, their families or others at unnecessary risk, and to abide by official guidelines on containing the virus.