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Coronavirus | Advice for Employees & Employers

Furlough Letter

Employers – You must ensure you are communicating with your employees and getting their approval to be furloughed. If you would like this as a word document please email to request a copy.

The coronavirus is on the move and spreading rapidly across the globe. Currently, many countries around the world are in lockdown to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

As of now, the virus is partially contained across the UK, but in the event of increasing spread across the nation, it is important for both employees and employers to take the necessary precautions to prevent such a matter. 

With the health and safety of staff in and around the workplace, we should consider the best practice to follow.

To prevent the spread, employees should abide by the following coronavirus advice:

  • Make sure all staffs emergency contact information is correct and up to date
  • Make sure the workplace offers clean places to wash your hands with hot water and soap whilst encouraging staff to do so regularly
  • Keep all staff updated on the procedures being carried out to reduce the risk of spread
  • Ensure all staff are up to date with the virus’ symptoms and are understanding of any processes that should take place if an employee shows sign of any symptoms
  • Avoid travel if possible to any affected areas and hotspots
  • Ensure all staff have access to hand sanitiser and relevant washing products
  • Keep your staff informed of pay and time off regarding the coronavirus

If an Employee is Told not to Come Into Work

If the employee in question is not sick but told to stay home, they should get their standard pay.

Statutory Sick Pay

If an employee is quarantined to self-isolation, the worker must receive SSP (Statutory Sick Pay).

Some employers may offer more pay to the employee than regular SSP. For example, if the employees’ contract says it is down to the employers’ discretion, they may pay you a regular wage.

The conditions to self-isolation are as follows:

  • The employee has coronavirus
  • The employee has been told to self-isolate after contacting the emergency helpline at 111
  • The employee has symptoms of the coronavirus

If an Employee Requires Time off as a Dependant who has Coronavirus

Employees may have someone who depends on them and may need time off to look after them in an emergency.

Unfortunately, there is no statutory pay for this type of leave, however, again, an employer may choose to pay you.

The employee must take a reasonable amount of time off in response to the situation. If the member of staff needs more time, they can book holiday to cover it.

For example, an employee would be entitled to time off if:

  • They have to look after their children due to the schools being closed
  • The dependent is sick and needs to be contained to isolation or the hospital

If a Member of Staff Wishes Not to Attend Work

Amongst the worry of coronavirus, an employee may feel like they wish to stay at home and avoid coming into work.

If there are genuine concerns the employer must ensure that they listen to any member of staff may have.

To work around the issue the employer could advise flexible working hours or situations, such as working from home.

If the member of staff still wishing to stay at home, they may be able to arrange a solution with their employers, such as taking holiday pay or unpaid leave.

It is important to follow the necessary coronavirus advice for all situations.

If an Employee With Coronavirus Attends Work

In the case of an employee with the coronavirus attending work, the local PHE health protection will get in touch with the employer.

The PHE will then:

  • Discuss the case with the employer
  • Carry out a risk assessment
  • Advise the employer on any actions or precautions they may need to take

You can read more on the PHE teams here

If an Employee Becomes Sick at Work

When an employee becomes unwell at work and shows any signs of symptoms, they must take the necessary action to prevent the possible virus to other members of staff.

The employee should call the NHS 111 helpline for coronavirus service and report the advise back to their employer.

In the meantime, the unwell employee should do the following:

  • Avoid touching any surfaces
  • Use separate facilities to others
  • “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it”
  • Isolate themselves into an enclosed space, such as a separate office or workroom
  • Avoid contact with other members
  • Always be at least 2 metres (7 feet) away from others

If the Employer Needs to Close the Workplace

For several reasons, the employer may want or need to close the workplace to prevent further spread and take care of their workers’ health and safety.

In such a circumstance it is the employers’ responsibility to ensure all staff have a way to communicate with the employer and other members of staff in the workplace.

As we mentioned above, employees can use their holiday to avoid having time off unpaid or under SSP. In the case of the employer closing down the workplace, the employers have the right to tell their workers if and when they need to take their holiday entitlement.

If this coincides with holiday that staff have already booked off, following coronavirus advice, the employer must explain their reasoning and try to resolve the situation with the employee directly.

In a modern world, it is much easier for us to communicate for afar, and so the employer can instruct employees to work from home where possible.

For example, if staff have laptops or desktop computers, these can be used to carry on with their work.

If this is not a possibility for all or some of the workes, it is the employers’ task to arrange paperwork and jobs that can be completed at home by staff who do not have access to a laptop or similar devices.

Summing-up

Unfortunately, the spread of the virus doesn’t seem to be slowing down, and with the risk of the UK being next amongst the list of isolation, both employees and employers need to follow procedures and advice that not only able the workplace to continue, but also to ensure the health and safety of their staff and themselves.

If you are worried about having any symptoms of the coronavirus, remember to phone the NHS 111 helpline immediately for advice, and avoid contact with others.

You can learn more about the coronavirus and its latest information in the workplace at GOV.UK

You can contact us for any further advice on 01384 265140 or through our contact page

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