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HR Ready HR Consultants once your employee has returned to work

Once your employee has returned to work

General Workplace guidance

  • Keep everyone informed and updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure to COVID-19 at work.
  • Ensure ‘vulnerable’ employees are strongly advised to follow social distancing guidance.
  • Ensure ‘extremely vulnerable’ employees are shielded and supported to stay at home.
  • Ensure everyone’s contact details are up to date including emergency numbers.
  • Train mangers so they know how to spot COVID-19 symptoms and understand what to do – i.e send employee home, SSP etc.
  • Make sure there are places to wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water and encourage everyone to do so regularly.
  • Provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff and encourage them to use them.

Social distancing at work

  • Maintain a distance of at least 2 metres (3 steps) between individuals wherever possible.
  • Use floor markings where possible.
  • Reduce the number of employees in the workplace.
  • Where face-to-face contact is essential, this should be kept to 15 minutes or less.
  • Consider splitting staff into teams with alternative working days in the office and at home. Or day and night shifts etc.

Further details can be found on the government website.

Specific Sectors

The government have issued general advice on social distancing measures for the workplace. There is very specific advice for the following sectors:

  • Shops with a pick-up or delivery services.
  • Tradespeople working in people homes.
  • Construction.
  • Manufacturing and processing businesses.
  • Retail.
  • Logistics.
  • Outdoor businesses.
  • Farming and fishing.
  • Cargo shipping.
  • Transport.
  • Waste management.

Full details can be found on the government website.

Social Distancing for the ‘strongly advised’

Employees who fall into the ‘vulnerable’ category as below:

  • Employees who are 70 and over (regardless of any medical conditions).
  • Employees who are pregnant.
  • Employees under 70 with underlying health conditions 

The above are strongly advised to work from home, but if this isn’t an option then you should consider whether you require them in the workplace, as it could amount to a breach of duty of care and a claim for constructive dismissal and or discrimination.

Note: They would not be entitled to SSP unless they show symptoms of COVID-19 or they are sharing a house with someone who is symptomatic.  The alternative is to pay the employee in full or to place them on furlough.

An employee has come to work and showed symptoms of COVID-19

If an employee presents COVID-19 symptoms while at work, you can inform your employees that there is a risk due to an employee having symptoms but you cannot disclose to your employees any details of the individual, this means you can neither confirm nor deny if questioned.  You have a duty of care to all employees to uphold.

Statutory Sick Pay

For further details on SSP please refer to COVID-19 SSP

Shielding

What employees are entitled to if they are shielding

The explanatory memorandum to Coronavirus amendment, no 3 regulations 2020 state that SSP is intended as a safety net for individuals, in cases where their employer chooses not to furlough them under the COVID-19 Job Retention scheme and does not have other suitable policies in place, i.e work from home etc.  These regulations came into force on 16 April 2020 and cannot be retrospectively applied.  

An employee doesn’t have symptoms, but you are sending them home to self-isolate – H&S

If the employee is not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 but has:

  • returned from a high-risk country or place,
  • has had contact with someone who is infected or 
  • as an abundance of caution.

You are able to send them home to self-isolate.  

You could ask the employee to work from home if possible.  If they can, then you should continue to pay them full pay and benefits etc.  If they are unable to work from home, then firstly check their employment contract to see whether there is an express obligation for you to provide work.  If not, you can require them to stay at home.

Annual leave accrual 

There has been a change to the law, that now enables employees to carry over 4 weeks of leave where it was not reasonably practicable to take the leave in the corresponding year as a direct result of the effects of COVID-19.

ACAS suggests this could be due to:

  • The employee has been self-isolating and too unwell to take the holiday.
  • The employee has been furloughed or put on lay off.
  • The employee has been required to continue working and could not take paid holiday.

The employee will then have two years immediately following the leave year to take the accrued annual holiday. 

An employer will not be able to refuse an annual leave request from workers who have carried leave forward under the new rules unless they have a ‘good reason’ to do so.

If an employee is self-isolating when they should be on annual leave, then they should be able to reschedule their leave if they wish to do so.

If you are unsure about what to do with any of the above information, please seek advice and support from a professional HR Consultant or legal professional.  Whether you would like support with your business during COVID-19 or you would like support in other areas, our HR Consultants are here to help you get it right, so get in touch.

HR Ready – you value your people, we take care of them

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