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18 March 2020

COVID-19 Advice to Employers: What You Need to Consider

There is a lot of advice and information available at the moment in regards to Covid-19. We have summarised what we consider to be the key issues employers need to think about in relation to managing staff illness, self-isolation and employment obligations:

1. Business Continuity Plan - Develop and implement a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) now to help prepare your business or organisation to get through any disruption that may occur. Key questions to ask yourself and your business plus a link to a useful template to base your BCP on can be found here.

2. Staff communication - Have a good faith discussion with your staff regarding your BCP and how you will manage health and safety in the workplace, travel restrictions, sick leave and self-isolation. You can find helpful information for employers here.

3. Flexible Working Arrangements – ensure that you have systems in place to allow employees to work remotely or flexibly, if they have to self-isolate but are still well enough to work. If employees are able to work from home, then it will be “business as usual” and they will continue to receive pay. If working from home is not practical for your business, and employees need to self-isolate, think about arranging with employees to use annual leave, sick leave in advance, special leave (paid leave that is in addition to statutory leave entitlements). The Government has also announced a package of support for employers and workers which includes wage subsidies and employee self-isolation incentive payments.

4. Sick Leave – put in place a policy for dealing with sick leave if employees become ill with COVID-19. For employees who do not have enough sick leave accumulated to cover the period of illness and subsequent self-isolation, consider giving sick leave in advance of entitlement. The policy should make clear that if employment is terminated for any reason, employees may be required to reimburse any sick leave taken in advance of entitlement.

If you are clear from the outset about how you will deal with sick leave and business closure, it will help staff plan any annual leave they may have as they may wish to keep annual leave for times when they are unable to work.

Disclaimer

The above information is of a general nature only. The information in this article does in no way constitute legal advice and all readers should contact a law firm for advice relating to your specific circumstances.

Vanessa Baakman

About Vanessa Baakman

Vanessa is an Associate in our Litigation team and specialises in employment and family law.

View all posts by Vanessa Baakman