Key Issues to Consider:
▪ Keep everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace.
▪ Ensure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date.
▪ Ensure managers are aware of sickness processes, especially with regards to COVID-19.
▪ Ensure there are clean places to wash hands with hot water and soap and encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly.
▪ Provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff and encourage them to use them.
▪ Ensure sure your workplace is clean & hygienic.
▪ Consider if any travel planned to affected areas is essential.
▪ Create an isolation room in case an employee feels unwell and they have somewhere to go away from other employees.
▪ Consider what roles can work from home.
▪ Where possible limit the amount of face to face contact, for instance use SKYPE calls etc.
▪ Be mindful if you do have employees self-isolating that the employees who are working are having the appropriate rest breaks in accordance with the Working Time Directive.
▪ Ensure plans are in place so your company can operate if you have a significant number of employees off sick.
Process if your employee needs to Self-Isolate:
▪ The incubation period is between 2 to 14 days.
▪ Normal sickness reporting applies, ensure the employee keeps their line manager informed during the isolation period.
▪ The employee should phone 111 if they have developed symptoms or are self-isolating.
▪ As 111 is being inundated please refer employees to: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
▪ Consider whether the employee may be able to work from home.
Payment whilst the employee is quarantined or self-isolating:
▪ If NHS 111 or a Doctor advises the employee or worker to self-isolate, then they should be paid Statutory Sick Pay from day 1. The Government have announced (11.03.2020), for businesses with fewer than 250 employees they will reimburse Statutory Sick Pay for the first 14 days for employees self-isolating as a result of the Coronavirus.
▪ If Contractual Sick Pay is offered, it is good practice to pay this.
▪ If an Employer tells an employee not to come in to work as they have returned from i.e. China, they will need to pay them as usual.
What if an employee does not want to come to work?
▪ Some employees may be worried about contracting Coronavirus and therefore unwilling to come into work.
▪ Listen carefully to their concerns, consider whether flexible working arrangements can be offered, such as homeworking.
▪ Employees can also request time off as holiday or unpaid leave.
▪ There is no obligation on employers to agree to this. However, if an employee does refuse to attend work, you need to understand their concerns, they may be in a high-risk category or have underlying health conditions. If you cannot reach a compromise contact your HR Consultant for further advice.
If an employee needs time off work to look after someone or the employee’s child’s school closes?
▪ Employees are entitled to dependent leave in an unexpected event or emergency, this could be for a variety of reasons:
o If they have children to look after or arrange childcare because their school is closed.
o To help their child or another dependent if they are ill and need to go into isolation or hospital.
▪ There is no statutory right for the employee to be paid, but the employee may decide to take paid holiday.
It is important that employers are reasonable and offer a degree of flexibility to their employee’s during this time.