COVID-19 – Read our Health & Safety Guidance

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13th March 2020

COVID-19 – Planning At A Glance

Business Continuity:

  • 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.

Premises:

  • 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;
    • Seminars;
    • 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.

Other measures: 

  • Consider what impact future delay, research and mitigation strategies may have on the business;
  • Sign up for Government email alerts

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