COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus has been instilling fear across the world as the disease continues to spread, but just how will that impact the workplace?
With confirmed cases constantly on the rise, it can be a big worry having to share confined spaces with colleagues daily. Not to mention having to tackle public transport getting to and from work.
Lots of questions are coming our way about what should happen and what rights do both the business and the employee have, so we thought we’d put together this handy blog to help…
Anyone who has recently visited a high-risk country (Italy, China and South Korea at present) or have been in contact with someone who has had the virus are being told to self-isolate for two weeks.
If this occurs, then it should be expected to receive at least SSP (statutory sick pay) until the 14 days have passed. A new announcement recently from Boris Johnson advises companies to pay SSP from Day 1 rather than allowing the 3 waiting days as was previously the case for sickness. In the budget release, the government will reimburse small businesses (with less than 250 employees) for the SSP.
Where possible, if there is the opportunity to allow staff to work from home then this should be implemented however, this is not feasible for all roles or businesses.
If you notice an employee suffering with symptoms of the virus, do not panic, but discuss this with them privately. Check whether they have sought medical advice and encourage them to use the NHS111 service and follow the company absence reporting procedure for staying at home. Any colleagues that have come into contact with the symptomatic employee should be made aware of this in order to follow NHS guidance.
Holiday Protocol & business travel
Travel restrictions may well be in place if the area the employee is travelling to is high risk. Any low-risk areas that the employee decides to travel to would invite a protocol on return, only if the employee is symptomatic or has been in contact with someone who has the virus. In this case, the self-isolation process would kick in.
We are seeing companies cancel or postpone unnecessary business travel until further notice.
What if I need to close my business?
If there is a real risk to your business then you may decide to temporarily close. Get in touch with us to discuss short-term layoff provisions.
Also, look at whether you have Business Interruption Cover in your commercial insurance policy. However, check the small print to see whether you have an extension for notifiable diseases.
At the time of submitting for press release, this information was up to date however the changes with advance is continuously changing with speed.
There is a lot of information on the Covid-19 virus, too much to put in an article, so please see the full blog on our website or get in touch if you need specific guidance. Simply get in touch on 01925 626 253, or alternatively, you can send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.