It is no exaggeration to say that the coronavirus is a crisis that is evolving daily and putting immense pressure on business. We have put together a list of frequently asked questions to provide initial guidance on the main concerns.
The picture is changing regularly and, although we will be updating this information on a regular basis, we cannot guarantee that it will be precisely up to date. As such, this information is not a substitute for taking your own legal advice on your particular issue.
Employers will need to check all their existing contractual terms and policies in order to determine how best to use (and possibly adapt) those depending on their specific circumstances. In addition, you must consider key areas of law, from implied terms of contract (e.g. trust and confidence, the obligation on employees to follow reasonable instructions) to health and safety law, discrimination and data protection. We deal with these areas in our guide.
Our key recommendations are:
- Check all existing contractual terms and policies.
- Ensure that employees are aware of the symptoms of the virus and what they should do if they suspect they have it. For example, inform you by telephone or email rather than in person, self-isolate and contact 111.
- Ensure employees are aware of their obligations to themselves and others to keep themselves and their colleagues safe (including good hand hygiene).
- Ensure employees are aware of what they should do regarding travel arrangements
- Ask employees about their travel plans and discuss those with them, taking heed of up-to-date Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Public Health England (PHE) guidance.
- Ask employees to come forward with any concerns they have regarding any particular health vulnerabilities and discuss any particular issues of concern.
- Prepare for the likelihood of home working/ unpaid leave/ additional holiday.
- Undertake risk assessments or ask employees to do them themselves.
- Start to discuss with employees whether changes may be required to their work patterns in the event that the virus becomes more widespread and more people become ill or are required to self-isolate.
- Develop relevant written policies on the above points and keep these updated.
Read our comprehensive Q & A HERE