This page was updated on 10 July 2020.
As an employer we understand that the health, safety and wellbeing of your workforce is your top priority.
Keeping your teams informed
We recommend that you stay informed by reading the latest information from the following sources.
- UK Government have released guidance for employers and businesses which outlines everything you should consider around managing people during this incident. On the 11th May the government released new guidance to help employers understand how to work safely during the pandemic.
- Ensure that you follow NHS advice if you or any of your employees suspect you may have Coronavirus.
- The latest government advice is for people to work from home wherever they possibly can. For tips and tools on agile working, access our Guide to Remote Working here.
- The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against non essential travel worldwide with the exception of certain countries and territories that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers.
From 13 May, all international arrivals are required to provide contact and accommodation information, whilst urged to download and use the NHS contact tracing app. Additionally, from the 8th June 2020, most travellers were required to self-isolate for 14 days upon entering the UK. On 3 July, the government announced that from Friday 10 July individuals travelling or returning from one of the countries with travel corridor exemption will not have to self-isolate. If air travel is required, the government has released safety guidance for passengers which can be seen here.
Preventing the spread of Coronavirus
On the 23rd March, the government announced the closure of all non-essential businesses and premises to prevent the spread of coronavirus. All businesses not on the list, can remain open. However, employers have a duty of care to ensure their employees' health and safety in the workplace and comply with the latest government guidance. Specifically for construction sites, the Construction Leadership Council has developed Site Operating Procedures (SOP), to protect workers and further minimise risk of spread of infection.
To support businesses that remain open during this period in England, the government has published new guidance to assist employers, businesses and their staff in staying open safely during COVID-19.The new guides cover a range of different types of work and can be seen below:
- Construction and other outdoor work
- Factories, plants and warehouses
- Labs and research facilities
- Offices and contact centres
- Other people's homes
- Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
- Shops and branches
- Vehicles (Guidance for couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and others)
- The visitor economy (Guidance for individuals working in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, business events and consumer shows)
- Close contact services
- Hotels and other guest accommodation
- Heritage locations
- Guidance for DCMS sectors
- Performing arts
- Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities
Sector specific guidance had also been published earlier in April and the different settings can be seen below:
- Shops running a pick-up or delivery service
- Tradespeople and working in people’s homes
- Manufacturing and processing businesses
- Logistics businesses
- Outdoor businesses
- Farming: visiting farms for animal health and welfare
- Fishing or other short-term offshore work
- Cargo-shipping or other long-term offshore work
- Transport businesses
- Waste management businesses
Workplace signage assets have also been developed and are available to download here.
On the 11th May the government also released guidance relating to the public's safe travel during the pandemic which should be taken into account by employees going to work. An information sheet has also been developed and can be seen here. Travel for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has also released a Coronavirus Travel Advice factsheet, to support employers and staff relying on public transport for work and education.
From the 15th June, face coverings will be mandatory while using public transport in England. More information can be seen here. Exemptions include children under the age of 11, anyone with a disability or condition which means they are unable to wear one, transport staff and emergency services.
What if a team member suspects they have Coronavirus?
To support employers manage the emergence of COVID-19 cases in the workplace, we have developed a quick guide which can be viewed here.
If there has been a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in your business facility, refer to this guidance on decontamination. Read more here.
ACAS have also released guidance for employers who want to understand their legal position around sick leave and pay entitlements if someone has or is suspected of having coronavirus.
What to do if you have closed due to Coronavirus?
On the 10th May the government announced the UK's recovery strategy which will see restrictions being lifted in phases. Businesses are advised to monitor the latest updates and follow new guidance which has been released to help employers understand when to re open and how to work safely during the pandemic.
Following the Budget 2020, the following revisions to employee benefits were announced:
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
The Government have previously announced that SSP is to be paid from day one of sick leave for people in self-isolation. In the Budget on 11 March it was announced that firms with fewer than 250 staff will be refunded for up to 14 days of SSP paid to staff that are self-isolating.
Employers must maintain records of staff absence, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If the employer requires evidence, for those isolated exhibiting coronavirus symptoms an isolation note can be obtained from NHS 111 online. If living with someone who has the symptoms, the employee can get a note via the NHS website. For those employees who are instructed by NHS' Test and Trace service to self-isolate, employers can use as evidence the notification provided to the individual by the service to claim SSP.
Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
Self-employed workers that are not eligible for SSP and need to self-isolate can claim ESA from the first day, rather than after seven days.
For more information on accessing Social Welfare Benefits, see here.
Self-Employed Income Support Scheme
The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will provide self-employed people a guaranteed income of 80% of their trading profit, up to £2,500 per month for at least three months. More details on the scheme can be seen here.
Practicalities of operating in a changing work environment
Government advice states that anyone who can work from home should continue to do so. With many staff still working remotely, here is some advice and support for working in this changing environment:
Skeleton Team on site – there may be practicalities to consider with this such as ensuring you have adequate cover, ensuring key holders are fully trained and equipped to cover these responsibilities
Lone Working – employees working alone onsite is a key risk, if you do not have a lone working policy in place you can refer to this guidance from the Health and Safety Executive
Remote Working – Remote working requires you to have the correct systems in place. To help your business adapt view our Guide to Remote Working
Staff skillset – Be prepared to cover all the skills that you need to keep the business going. Additional resources to help you support and empower your workforce to ensure business continuity can be seen here.
ACAS have released redundancy guidance for employers and employees, which can be accessed here. The Growth Company has also developed a "Redundancy during COVID-19" Guide to support businesses and staff.
For more information get in touch with us here.
The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. GC Business Growth Hub does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to the GC Business Growth Hub and The Growth Company is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.