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Coronavirus – Employment Issues


Thursday, February 27, 2020

As of 27 February 2020, 7690 people have been tested in the UK for Coronavirus.  All bar 15 were negative.

The risk has been raised in the UK from low to moderate by the Chief Medical Officer.

Coronavirus is a virus which typically causes fever and a cough.  In the elderly or those with compromised immune systems, the symptoms can be much more severe, even life-threatening.

How does the Employer deal with it?

  1. Make sure your staff wash their hands and dispose of tissues. Those who don’t should be warned once, then disciplined.
  2. If an employee is sick with the virus, normal sick pay rules apply.
  3. If they are in preventative quarantine or self isolation, there is no legal right to sick pay, but treat it as sickness absence anyway. Do you really want them to come in and run the risk of infecting the rest?
  4. What if they won’t come in to work as they are worried about catching the virus from others? Right now, give them the choice of time off as paid holiday, or unpaid leave.  Allow some working from home if you can.
  5. If someone knowingly attends with the virus, send them home at once, and then wait until it has passed. On their return, discipline them.
  6. Ensure your business continuity plan is up to date and can be implemented should you be impacted by multiple absences. If you don’t have a business continuity plan, then it would be wise to write a thorough one as soon as possible and share it with your staff.
  7. Do you need to create remote access to your systems for key staff, and if so, do you have the policies and protocols in place to enable remote or home working? Have you had your staff’s home laptops/PC’s/tablets checked to ensure they have the latest firewall/security enabled?

If any of the above causes you concern, and you need guidance or support from our Employment team, please do not hesitate to call 0191 2328451.

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