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COVID-19 Recovery Period - Staff FAQs

Last Updated 12 August 2022

1. General

1.1 I think I might have COVID-19 Symptoms. What do I do?

Check the list of  C-19 Symptoms here and if you are displaying these symptoms, please follow the steps that are outlined on that HSE webpage.

1.2  How can I claim tax relief for e-working?

As a public sector employer, we are prohibited from contributing to additional costs for items such as electricity, heating and broadband for staff working from home due to COVID-19 restriction. However, there is E-Working tax relief that staff can claim where they work from home for substantial periods on a full or part-time basis. Such staff can claim E-Working expenses by completing an Income Tax return on the Revenue website as follows:

  1. sign into revenue.myaccount
  2. click on 'Review your tax' link in PAYE Services
  3. select the Income Tax return for the relevant tax year
  4. select 'Other PAYE Expenses' in the 'Tax Credits and Reliefs' page and insert the amount of expense at the 'Amount Claimed' section.

Staff who you have not yet registered for Revenue's online services should do so now at the link above in preparation for making claims in 2022.

As a claim may be selected for future examination by Revenue, all documentation relating to a claim should be retained by the staff member for a period of six years from the end of the tax year to which the claim relates.  Please check the Revenue website for details on how such relief is calculated.

2. Diagnosis, Stay at Home and Special Leave

2.1  I've been diagnosed with COVID-19. What should I do?

If you have been diagnosed with Covid-19, please follow the guidance on the HSE website.

2.2  I've had a positive COVID PCR test, however I’m well enough to work, do I have to take special leave with pay?

If you have received a positive COVID test result and do not feel unwell, if feasible you may work from home during the 'stay at home' period. Please discuss this with your line manager to discuss what work you will carry out. Please ensure to contact your line manager immediately if you become unwell during the 'stay at home' period and are unable to continue to work from home. If this happens, then you may be placed on special leave for the remainder of the 'stay at home' period.

2.3  I've been diagnosed with COVID-19. Will I be paid?

Special leave with pay may be granted in lieu of sick leave for COVID-19 when an employee is required to stay at home following a positive COVID test result. Medical or HSE advice should be followed. Staff must also complete the COVID-19 Self-Declaration Form. Satisfactory evidence of a positive test for COVID-19 is required with the completed form

The HSE sets out the latest criteria for self-isolation at this link.

The general principles applying to the management of sick leave, for example the requirement of employees to contact managers, and for ongoing contact with employees who are on special leave for this purpose, will apply. The arrangement relating to the application of special leave with pay for COVID-19 is temporary and will be kept under regular review by the Government.

2.4 I’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 and granted special leave with pay. How long will it continue?

From 1st July 2022, if you cannot discharge your duties from home or are too unwell to do so, special leave with pay will continue for the duration of the stated stay at home period only (whatever duration is in place at the time of the absence), currently five calendar days. Special leave with pay will continue for the duration of the stated stay at home period only. In order to avail of special leave with pay evidence is required in the form of a positive test result registered on the HSE portal along with a completed COVID-19 Self-Declaration Form.

Any periods of COVID-19 related illness which extend beyond the stated stay at home period (currently five calendar days) will be treated as ordinary sick leave in accordance with the Sick Leave Policy with requirements such as medical certification, illness benefit application applying and may include a referral to occupational health.

2.5 Can special leave with pay be extended beyond 5 calendar days?

No, if an employee remains absence beyond the stated stay at home period (currently five calendar days) this will be treated as ordinary sick leave under the University’s Sick Leave Policy will apply.

2.6 I have to avail of special leave with pay, do I need to provide a medical certificate for this absence?

Medical certification is not required for application of COVID special leave with pay, the requirements for availing of special leave with pay are set out at FAQ 2.4 above.

If your absence extends beyond the stated stay at home period (currently five calendar days), then a medical certificate is required from day six.

For any periods of leave for which a medical certification is submitted, such absences should be recorded as sick leave with Sick Leave Policy rules applying, such as calculation of sick pay benefit for the period and application for illness benefit payments from the DSP, if the absence is three days or greater.

2.7  I am on special leave with pay. How often should I update my manager?

The general principles applying to the management of sick leave, for example the requirement to contact managers and for ongoing contact with staff who are on special leave with pay for this purpose, will apply

2.8 What if I don't provide the appropriate COVID-19 /ordinary medical confirmation to my line manager?

In the event of non-compliance with the University's Sick Leave Policy and/or the provisions of special leave with pay (including the requirement to provide bona fide confirmation of self-isolation/diagnosis of COVID-19) existing procedures, including with-holding of pay and/or disciplinary measures, may be invoked.

2.9 What if I don't return to work after being granted special leave with pay?

When granted special leave with pay, staff will be expected to comply at once with any directions which may be given by the University and to take all practicable steps to resume duty as soon as possible. Non-compliance with this may result in the with-holding of pay.

2.10 Can I claim illness benefit whilst on Special Leave with Pay?

Staff on special leave with pay are not permitted to claim any form of Illness Benefit payment from the Department of Social Protection.

2.11 Will I be entitled to days in lieu of public holidays that occur while I am on special leave with pay due to self-isolation?

Staff are not entitled to days in lieu of public holidays that occur whilst they are in receipt of special leave with pay

2.12 I am on annual leave. I've been advised to stay at home as had a positive covid test. How will my time off work be recorded?

Special leave with pay only applies to staff who were rostered or due to be working. Special leave with pay cannot be substituted for other forms of leave such as annual leave.

2.13 I have a family member that has been told to stay at home due to a positive test. What leave arrangements can I avail of?

If your child has COVID the HSE advice can be found at this link.

If a staff member in this situation has been advised by the HSE that there is no need for them to stay at home, they can explore alternative working patterns and working from home with their line manager, where feasible. If the staff member wishes to stay at home for the purpose of caring for their child, they may be able to avail of other forms of leave under University policies such as Annual Leave, Parental Leave, Special Unpaid Leave of Absence or Force Majeure (as defined under the Parental Leave Act 1998). The granting of any leave is subject to the approval of the Head of School /Administrative and Support Area.

Parental leave requests should be made using the parental leave application form. In these extenuating circumstances and on an exceptional basis, the normal notice periods for such applications will be waived and accepted retrospectively.

Special Unpaid Leave of Absence requests should be made using the unpaid leave application form.

Force Majeure applications should be made using the force majeure application form.

2.14 Is special leave with pay available for caring arrangements?

There is no special paid leave available for COVID-19 caring arrangements during this time.  Any employee who wishes to avail of existing leave allowances during this time is entitled to have such requests considered by their employer, as always, including parental leave, annual leave etc. patterns, flexible or staggered shifts and weekend working may be explored, where feasible.

3. Supports available

3.1 What supports are available for staff?

Inspire Workplaces Counselling Services provide the University's Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) service. University staff and their immediate families (those living at home with them who are 18 years of age and older) can avail of up to 6 professional counselling sessions free of charge. Appointments can be made by calling Inspire on freephone 1800 817 433 or by email to

Inspire also offer a dedicated online Support Hub where staff will find useful information, articles, e-zines, self-assessment tools and much more. To access please click on EAP Inspire Support Hub:

  • On the home page click the purple ‘Sign up’ icon (top right)
  • When prompted enter the company pin (PIN: Trinity!)
  • This will create a randomly generated username – please take note of username
  • Create your own password and start using the Support Hub

4. Vaccines

4.1 Can the College make it mandatory for me to be vaccinated against COVID19?

No. The current legal position in Ireland is such that there are constitutional and other legal barriers that would make it extremely difficult for an employer to implement a mandatory vaccination programme for COVID-19. This includes the right to bodily integrity, the right to a private life and the right to personal autonomy.

4.2 If I decide not to take up the offer of a vaccine, can I be prevented from attending the workplace?

As outlined above, it is an individual's right to choose whether or not to be vaccinated. If an employer, having carried out a risk assessment in line with their duties under the Act, concludes that there is a risk of a staff member coming into contact with the virus, or, that there is a risk of putting colleagues or service users at risk, your Head/Manager may have to consider re-assigning you different duties to your normal core duties if you are unwilling to be vaccinated.

4.3 My Head/Manager is encouraging me and my colleagues to get the vaccine when it is offered. Can they do this?

Yes, Heads/Managers should encourage their staff to get the vaccine, in line with public health advice. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (the Act) obliges employers to identify and reduce workplace risks as part of their risk assessment. Individual staff also have a duty under the Act to co-operate with their employer so that Trinity can comply with its duty to reduce workplace risks.

4.4 Can I ask if my colleagues have been vaccinated?

No, this would constitute a data protection breach.

4.5 My colleague has told me they are not vaccinated; I don't want to work alongside them. What are my options?

The evidence suggests that receiving the vaccination prevents the recipient of the vaccine from getting very sick. On that basis, arguably the person who has been vaccinated would still be protected working alongside someone who has not been vaccinated. In addition, all other control measures that have been put in place under your School/Area's Resumption of Activity on Campus Plan should remain, in line with the Work Safely Protocol, such that the employee should be in a position to continue to work as before.

Refusal to work alongside unvaccinated colleagues/students will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and may have to be dealt with under the relevant procedures.

4.6 I received notification for my COVID-19 vaccine appointment and it is within my working time, how will this be recorded?

Time off work for COVID-19 vaccines is to be treated as a medical appointment in line with section 1.2 of the Sick Leave Policy and therefore normally recorded as sick leave with employees informing their Manager/Head in advance and provide a copy of appointment details (screenshot if notification received by text). If staff do not wish to discharge a full /half day sick leave for this appointment, they should discuss this with their line manager and where feasible they can agree to:

  • Go straight to the appointment, come into work after it
  • Come into work, go to the appointment, return to work after it
  • Leave work early to go to the appointment if scheduled late in the afternoon

Staff who become ill immediately after receiving the vaccine who cannot return to work as a result will be recorded as being on sick leave.

4.7 I became ill due to an adverse reaction to my COVID19 vaccine and cannot work, how will this be recorded?

Any illness absence as a result of adverse reaction to a vaccine is considered ordinary illness and therefore to be recorded as sick leave. Medical certification to cover the absence is required in line with section 2.2 of the Sick Leave Policy as is application to the Dept of Social Protection (where applicable) for illness benefit as set out in section 7.

5. Ordinary Illness

5.1 What happens if I have an illness other than COVID-19?

Under the terms and conditions of the University's Sick Leave Policy, ordinary illness should be recorded locally by the line manager as sick leave.

5.2 What if I am on ordinary illness sick leave and subsequently contract COVID-19?

If a staff member is on sick leave due to ordinary illness and is subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19, the special leave with pay may be granted retrospectively in lieu of sick leave. The staff member would be required to complete the Self-Declaration Form and return it to their line Manager with the appropriate evidence as set out in FAQ 2.4 above as soon as possible.

6. Managers

6.1 As a Manager, what leave records do I have to keep?

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 requires employers to hold records of all forms of leave. It is important that records of all leave (CV19 special leave with pay, annual leave, unpaid leave etc.) are kept locally in each area. These should be readily available for University and DFHERIS statistical data, if requested.

6.2 As a Manager, what should I do if a staff member who is pregnant raises concerns to me about working onsite?

The HSE advice on COVID-19 and pregnancy is set out here. If a staff member who is pregnant raises concerns to you about working onsite, you should contact the Employee Relations Section in Human Resources by email to to arrange a COVID-19 at-risk assessment to determine if the staff member is in a high/very high-risk category and what, if any accommodations are necessary.

6.3 As a Manager, what should I do when a staff member contacts me about potential COVID 19 infection?

You need to establish specifically:

  • Whether the staff member has been diagnosed as an actual or probable case. If the staff member has received a positive test result for COVID 19, special leave with pay may be granted.
  • Determine if the staff member can discharge their duties from home and is well enough to do so, then agree the necessary arrangements
  • If they are not well enough to work from home, ensure the staff member completes the Self-Declaration Form and returns it to you with the appropriate evidence as soon as possible.
  • Record this locally as CV19 Special Leave with Pay on the staff member's attendance record.

If a staff member becomes unwell at work, Managers should refer to and at all times follow the guidance on the HSE website for dealing with a suspected case of COVID-19 infection in the workplace.