Reducing Risk

  • Communicate to employees the actions you’re taking to reduce risk and update regularly
  • Encourage staff to wash hands often for the recommended 20 seconds
  • Ensure Managers know how to spot symptoms – cough, temperature and shortness of breath
  • Make sure all emergency contacts are up to date
  • Issue hand sanitizer and tissues to staff
  • Don’t have big team meetings; try and put 2m between staff
  • Masks are useless unless advised by a clinician
  • Implement home-working where feasible
  • Google and Microsoft are offering 6 months’ free for their tools such as ‘teams’ and ‘hangouts’
  • Reduce face to face contacts with video conference
  • Stop non-essential business travel
  • Ask employees about their potential holiday plans over the next three months

Certified Absence/SSP

  • SSP will be paid from Day 1, not Day 3
  • On day eight a sick note email from NHS 111 will be available rather than having to go to the GP for a fit note as self-isolation lasts for 14 days
  • Small businesses will be able to claim for the additional SSP, so keep a spreadsheet
  • If you send someone home but they argue they are fit to work, you need to consider medical suspension which would be on full pay if they can’t work from home
  • If they are self-isolating because of family members with symptoms but unable to work from home they are entitled to SSP

Temporary Closure

  • Review the disaster recovery plan if you have one.  If you don’t, then consider these questions:
    • What’s most critical?
    • What equipment do you need to keep going?
    • Can people work remotely?
    • Can the phone system be re-routed to allow working from home?
    • How will you communicate internally and externally?
    • How will you update stakeholders?
  • You can think about paid annual leave – consider current and future accruals
  • If you offer staff the option of unpaid leave, then they need to put their request in writing to prevent a legal challenge
  • If you want to enforce a holiday, then you need to provide double the notice; so they need to be given two weeks’ notice for one week’s leave.
  • If you have a lay off/short term working clause in your contract,  implementing this would just need calling an informal meeting (no right to be accompanied), explain the situation and then confirm in writing.
    • In this situation, employees are entitled to be paid £29 per day for five days in any three months. 
    • It’s important to note that if staff are laid off for four continuous weeks, they can claim redundancy pay (if they have more than two years’ service)
  • If they have more than two years’ service, they are entitled to be made redundant, and therefore full consultation would need to be implemented, along with subsequent payments.

School Closures

  • No specific provisions have been announced as yet to support parents needing to stay home to care for children
  • In the absence of government advice or assistance, employees may choose to utilise their right to emergency time off for dependants which is unpaid

Additional Advice

If you want to discuss the implications of any of these issues on your business or talk about other possible courses of action, please contact us at