Coronavirus in the workplace – some frequently asked questions
I thought it would be useful to speak to a HR specialist about the Coronavirus in the Workplace. What the effects could be on the working day for a small business. I have spoken to a friend of mine, Jane Fryatt from Face2FaceHr, and she has put this article together.
“We have been asked by a number of clients about coronavirus (COVID-19), mainly queries around pay. There is some excellent guidance available from Acas here covering steps employers can take. It is worth having a read of that.
In the meantime, here are some common queries we’ve been asked and my response”.
When someone is self-isolating, do I need to pay them?
If someone is actually ill, your normal sick pay arrangements will apply. If they have been given written notice by a medical professional to isolate themselves, statutory sick pay will apply (and while it’s not a requirement, it would seem sensible to pay any enhanced sick pay you normally offer in these circumstances as well).
The Government has announced that statutory sick pay will apply from day one rather than day four, and that emergency legislation will be passed to enact this very shortly.
If someone has just decided to self-isolate, they are not entitled to be paid at all. However, if they are not ill but have been asked by you not to come into work, they should be paid in full as usual.
What happens if employees have to be off because schools shut?
In these circumstances the emergency dependants’ leave provision would apply, i.e. the employee would be entitled to a day or two unpaid leave to resolve the emergency, following which alternative arrangements should be made. Any longer absences should be dealt with using unpaid leave or annual leave.
Should I be developing contingency plans?
Yes it would be a good idea to do this if you haven’t already. Consider how you could make best use of remote working to keep your business going in the event of employees needing to stay at home.
Think about cascading communication of any measures you may need to take, as the situation is changing quickly, and consider how flexible your business can be in terms of keeping going on a skeleton staff if necessary.
Will I have to pay staff if I have to shut the business for a period due to the Coronvirus?
It’s not recommended that you shut your business completely if someone develops symptoms. In the unlikely event you need to do this, you will need to pay staff unless there is provision in your contract or other agreement for you to do otherwise.
If you’d like any specific advice about the workplace implications of coronavirus, please do get in touch with Jane Fryatt.
If you would like an introduction to Jane via myPA Virtual Services contact me.