Following on from our article a few days ago on Managing Coronavirus at Work, we have some updated information that we would like to share with you.
The government has released it’s four-step action plan for tackling coronavirus :
- Contain: detect early cases, follow up close contacts, and prevent the disease taking hold in this country for as long as is reasonably possible
- Delay: slow the spread in this country, if it does take hold, lowering the peak impact and pushing it away from the winter season
- Research: better understand the virus and the actions that will lessen its effect on the UK population; innovate responses including diagnostics, drugs and vaccines; use the evidence to inform the development of the most effective models of care
- Mitigate: provide the best care possible for people who become ill, support hospitals to maintain essential services and ensure ongoing support for people ill in the community to minimise the overall impact of the disease on society, public services and on the economy.
As part of the announcement, Boris Johnson reassured that the UK is ‘well prepared’ for a potential outbreak and is still in the early stages of containment. However, he did agree it was ‘likely’ that the virus will spread in the coming weeks and that ‘everyone is susceptible’ of catching it. In a ‘stretching scenario’, it is possible that up to one fifth of employees may be absent from work during peak weeks. It is also possible that an outbreak or pandemic of Covid-19 could also come in multiple waves.
Areas for organisations to be aware of in the event of an outbreak are the following:
- An increased number of schools could potentially be closed to minimise spread, which will likely result in a large number of requests for Time off for Dependants
- Organisations may be encouraged to allow a greater number of staff to work from home
- Reduction of large-scale gatherings could be implemented
- Hospital worker shifts could be altered and leavers or retirees could be called ‘back to duty’
Going forward, it is possible that more serious steps will be taken and emergency legislation passed. For now, the government is continuing to issue the advice it was providing before. People should wash hands with soap regularly and check Foreign Office advice before travelling abroad. If they return from affected countries, they should follow existing advice on self-isolation.
Statutory sick pay to be payable from day one for coronavirus
The government announced on 4 March 2020 that emergency legislation would be introduced for the payment of statutory sick pay (SSP) to employees with the coronavirus. They will be entitled to receive SSP from day one, not day four, of their illness.
Time off for Dependants
- The right to time off to care for dependants is intended to be for emergencies only, and the time taken off is unpaid.
- In deciding whether to allow the time off, the employer can consider whether it is necessary, and take into account any previous dependant leave which the employee has taken.
- There is no specified limit on the length of a period of time off for dependants – but it must be reasonable.
- An employee can make a complaint to the employment tribunal that s/he has been unfairly refused time off to care for dependants.
- Dismissing an employee for taking time off for dependants will be automatically unfair.
If you need assistance with developing an action plan to ensure your employees are equipped to deliver their roles amidst these uncertain times, please give our HR professionals a call, we would be happy to support you. We strongly believe that every problem creates an opportunity to build an open and transparent culture, trust and confidence.
Headquartered in Cambridge with regional presence in Kettering and Milton Keynes, Aspire Cambridge provide cost effective Recruitment and HR solutions to an impressive portfolio of customers spanning the UK and Europe. Working with a diverse collection of industries from start-ups to blue chip companies covering a vast range of sectors. Aspire Cambridge has an unrivalled knowledge of the jobs marketplace so it’s no wonder that they hold an impressive track record of exceeding client and candidate expectations.
How do they do it? By “Placing People First”.
Contact Aspire Cambridge:
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