Coronavirus. Do you have a plan in the event of Covid-19 hitting your workforce?
You should be asking yourself the following questions?
1. What will you do if you suspect someone has contracted the virus?
2. How will you respond if an employee self isolates?
3. If you send someone home, what will you do about pay?
4. Have you prepared and issued guidance to your staff?
5. Do you have a dedicated team in place, to deal with emergency situations?
6. Do you have a lay-off and short time working clause in your contracts?
We all hope that this won’t happen but if you have to close your premises and it is not possible for your employees to work from home, then you may have to look to your employment contract for the answers. It may be necessary to consider the contractual clause regarding lay-offs and short time working (if applicable). However, remember that you can only lay someone off work, where there is an express contractual right to do so. When an employee is laid off, they might be entitled to a statutory guarantee payment from the employer, limited to a maximum of five days in any period of three months. If you do not have this clause, then you will be obliged to pay your employees their full pay, even if you are temporarily closed for business.
If an employee self isolates, then SSP can be paid from day one, subject to meeting the requirements set out by the government.
In any event, it is advisable to set up effective communication methods with your employees, so that everyone is aware of the situation.
You can find useful guidance on the Acas website https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus which will help you to plan.