On 30th January 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of Coronavirus a “public health emergency of international concern”. Since then, confirmed cases in the UK have risen, the disease has dominated the headlines, sent the country into mild panic and left many employers feeling unprepared.
The situation is fast-evolving and it’s vital that your organisation has a clear strategy in place to deal with the immediate impact of the virus now, and in the coming months.
As you would expect, Peeps HR is actively responding to our client’s and followers’ biggest concerns which have included sick pay, remote working, business contingency policy and self-isolation. We have shared a wealth of guidance for employers, including amongst other things - practical help in the form of an example pandemic/business contingency plan. If you would like a copy of the plan which you can adapt for your organisation, you can request a copy here. However, if you need more hands-on support to guide you through this unprecedented situation, please get in touch today by calling 01453 297557.
In the meantime, here is a simple 3 step action plan to help tackle the current situation in your workplace. This should serve as a foundation to your preparations, and is information based on today’s date. Monday 9th March 2020:
1. Keep up to date – We recommend that you read the detailed management information for employers provided by our professional body, the CIPD. There is also guidance for employers and businesses on the UK Government website. And finally, the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England will be publishing the most up to date information and advice daily.
Also, it’s good practice to ensure your employees contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date.
2. Promote good hygiene – Make sure surfaces and frequently used objects are clean and disinfected regularly, place sanitising hand gel dispensers and tissues around the workplace and display posters in prominent places promoting hand washing. This will help prevent the spread of infection within the workplace.
3. Introduce clear polices – Your organisations usual sick pay and entitlements will apply if someone has coronavirus. And if an employee has been advised to self-isolate, it’s good practice to pay SSP. You should also consider your policy if an employee needs time off work to care for someone – for instance, parents with a child whose school has closed. This is where some degree of flexibility should be employed. It’s unlikely at this stage that you will need to close your workplace, but you should have a remote working policy in place.
“Planning ahead is vital for UK businesses who wish to remain compliant and resilient and keep operating.
But the most important thing to remember is that any policy must be applied consistently and fairly, and that the health of your employees is as important as the impact of the outbreak on your business.”
Jayne Jaquiss, Managing Director, Peeps HR
Please contact Peeps HR if you’d like more detailed guidance on managing the coronavirus outbreak within your business. And if you’d like to discuss the practical steps in which we can help manage compliance and the evolving legal risks within your workplace, call us on 01453 297557 to arrange a free consultation or email firstname.lastname@example.org