Thursday, 12 March 2020 23:49

COVID19 On One Page

Now that the UK has officially moved from a state of containment to one of delay, we can expect a rapidly changing landscape over the coming weeks. There is so much information available now about COVID19 Coronavirus that we have attempted to distil everything down to a single page of information. To download a one-page .pdf document of the below, please go to https://hrchampions.co.uk/COVID19_On_One_Page.pdf



General Advice

In these extraordinary times businesses should remember that ultimately, they have a duty of care towards their employees. Employers should be mindful of anyone who may be more vulnerable due to age, pregnancy or pre-existing conditions or who have responsibilities for someone in these groups. Consider flexible arrangements for them during this time.


My employee has Coronavirus symptoms

Whether it’s the virus or not, if an employee is ill and unfit for work, he or she should be off sick and is therefore entitled to whatever your sick pay policy allows. This may be just SSP or you may make enhanced payments.


My employee wants to self-isolate

The Government is planning for NHS111 to issue fit notes where self-isolation is advised. With one of these an employee can be paid SSP when self-isolating. Without it, the time off should be holiday or agreed unpaid leave or it’s unauthorised absence. That said, employees have a right to work in a safe environment and of your precautions against the spread of COVID-19 are inadequate then they could have an argument. Also consider point 1 if they want to self-isolate because they care for a vulnerable individual.


What if I send staff home?

If you send staff home purely on a precautionary basis then you should pay them. If you send them home because they are sick then point 2 applies.


Can I ask staff to work from home?

Generally, you would need a clause in your employees’ contracts to allow this and potentially need to undertake a risk assessment but under the current circumstances you should be able to come to some arrangement if working from home is feasible.


I have a confirmed case. Should I close?

The official line is not at the moment. The local Public Health England (PHE) team may come and carry out a risk assessment. They will advise what steps and precautions you need to take, including closure of deemed necessary.


What if staff are travelling back from a known high risk area

Employees who have been to the affected areas in the past 14 days need to stay home and avoid contact with other people, and advise the NHS via 111, even if they do not have symptoms. If an employee who has been to the affected areas tries to attend work, they should be told to go home and follow the Government guidance in order to protect the health and safety of others. The fit note scheme should see that they get SSP at least.If it was a work related trip you should pay them full pay as usual.


A sick employee still wants to come to work

Some staff may be afraid of not being paid. It’s important that everyone takes the virus seriously and that employers and employees work together for the benefit of everyone’s health. In order to protect the wellbeing of your other staff, you may need to come to an arrangement with some member so of staff over pay or working from home.


Some staff are absent because their childrens’ school is closed

You have to allow staff time off to deal with dependants, but this doesn’t need to be paid. You also wouldn’t expect you member of staff to be absent indefinitely. The time off should be used to make alternative care arrangements for their child or dependant. However, if a team member’s default carer for their child in these circumstances is a grandparent, they may not want to expose them to any risk as they could be in a vulnerable group. You may have to negotiate different terms or arrangements.


What about staff who are about to travel

It’s difficult to stop your staff from travelling or taking holidays in their own private time. However you can remind them of the potential risks and financial implications of travelling abroad, especially to high risk areas. They may be forced to isolate on return or even get locked-down in the country they travel to, delaying their return. You may find that the holiday company cancels anyway if the risk is high. If you have to re-negotiate cancelled holidays, try to be flexible. This is an extra-ordinary event after all.


My question isn’t answered here

We’ve tried to answer what we think are the most likely scenarios here but if you need further support call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For support with all aspects of employee management and HR, including employee wellbeing, call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 2196 times Last modified on Friday, 13 March 2020 07:51


HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

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