13th March 2020
COVID-19 – Planning At A Glance
- Identify key roles and departments (e.g. finance, IT, reception);
- Can those roles and departments function if:
- There is a workplace closure;
- A key employee is infected?
- Split up key departments/ create distinct shifts to reduce the risk of spread of infection?
Working from Home:
- Is there the equipment/ infrastructure to work from home?
- Can the role feasibly be delivered from home?
- How will the employee be supervised?
- How will contact be maintained?
- Keep under regular review
Finance and Sick Pay:
- Identify potential contractual rights;
- SSP now payable from day one;
- Employers can now recover SSP for 14 days per employee;
- Consider hardship fund/loans for employees who need this;
- Refer to sickness and isolation section for pay details;
- Consider whether the business will benefit from any Government initiatives.
Sickness and Isolation:
- Voluntary self-isolation – no sick pay;
- Voluntary withdrawal from work – no sick pay;
- Medically advised self-isolation – consider lenience on certification; SSP payable but arguably Company sick pay is not;
- Company enforced self-isolation/absence – full pay until medical advice received;
- School closures/dependant care – basic position is unpaid leave.
People & Communication:
- Regular communication key to reassuring employees;
- Appoint points of contact and communicate contingency plans to contact points;
- Ask employees to report all current/future travel plans and of any other household members;
- Ask staff to report suspected or confirmed infection of anyone who employee has come into close contact with;
- Advise staff not to travel to certain areas. Consider requiring self-isolation if they go ahead and warn of SSP only (appreciating the risk of doing so);
- Ask staff to report any factors which may create higher risks in the case of infection e.g. cardiovascular issues, age, current/previous conditions, caring for/ association with vulnerable people;
- Consider advising staff of the need to self-isolate for 7 days if they develop a new continuous cough or high temperature (see our article on suspected/confirmed cases in the workplace);
- Advise employees of what self-isolation means.
- Provision of tissues, hand sanitisers etc;
- Signage/posters promoting hygiene standards and reporting of symptoms;
- Consider travel and office footfall – consider a prohibition on:
- Movement between offices;
- Face-to-face meetings;
- Client attendance;
- Consider questionnaires/risk assessments of visitors to the office;
Shortage of Work:
- Contractual layoff/short-time working clause could be utilised;
- Impose taking of paid holiday;
- Offer unpaid leave;
- Restrict Company sick pay & benefits if contractually possible;
- Simple headcount savings – recruitment freeze, dismissal of short-serving employees, reduction of zero-hours/ casual workers and agency staff;
- Other savings – postponement of salary review, removal of discretionary pay and benefits;
- Redundancy exercise.
- Consider what impact future delay, research and mitigation strategies may have on the business;
- Sign up for Government email alerts.