COVID-19 and what it means for your business
Coronavirus, or more specifically the strain COVID-19 has arrived in the UK and if it follows the same trajectory as we have seen in other parts of the world, we are heading for a few months of severe disruption.
The best advice we can give is to plan ahead. We're not talking about stockpiling toilet rolls either! Are there meetings that can be rescheduled, assignments that can be done from home etc? Are your finances in a place where they can withstand 2-3 months of potential disruption? Have you notified and indeed reminded staff of procedures for the need for cleanliness in and around the office, and appropriate levels of interaction with customers.
The situation is ever changing, and while we remain in the "Contain" phase, the UK's Chief Medical Advisor Professor Chris Whitty has stated we are moving quickly towards the "delay" phase of the governments four phase plan to deal with the outbreak (see link)
That means large scale disruption, potentially including the closing of schools, shopping centres and large public events and gatherings.
We have already had a few enquiries about employment rights, and the legislation with specific regard to the epidemic is evolving quickly with special measures and exceptions being put in place.
Anyone showing symptoms of the virus is being asked to "self isolate". This could mean up to two weeks off work.
Provisions for sick leave obviously vary from business to business
While many workers contractually will be entitled to normal pay while ill, self isolation is more complicated - as they are not necessarily sick and just taking precaution, they may not be contractually entitled to sick pay.
This effectively becomes a case of the employer using their own discretion, although ACAS have advised it as "good practice" for employers to offer sick pay to those self isolating too.
Statutory Sick Pay
This is minimum payment for employees who do not have contractual sick pay or do not get full paid sick leave. It's paid by employers at £94.25 per week (provided the employee earns more than £118 per week)
Statutory sick pay (SSP) is not paid for the first three days that somebody is sick however, as part of its emergency Coronavirus legislation it will now be paid from day one.
Again the government have stated employees who are healthy but self isolating for medical reasons will qualify for this.
We can offer further guidance with any HR issues as part of our HR subscription lines, where industry experts can advise on all areas of employment law, health and safety - contact us today to find out more