Employee’s health and well-being, putting measures in place to prevent the virus from spreading and business continuity should be at the heart of every Employer’s response. Employer’s have a Statutory duty of care for their employees health and safety and to provide a safe place of work and there is a strong moral responsibility to ensure that employees feel safe and secure in their employment.
We in Boyd HR recommend the following to our Clients and the wider business community:
1. Keep up-to-date with Government and Public Health advice. The situation is rapidly evolving hour by hour.
2. Conduct a Hazard Analysis / Risk Assessment for your Business. Identify and assess the potential hazards, identify the risk (low/medium/high), put proper control measure in place, review regularly and assign responsibility.
3. Practical measures to ensure employee’s health and well-being include:
– Make sure your workplace is clean and hygienic
– Promote regular and thorough hand-washing by everyone
– Provide all employees with an alcohol-based hand rub
– Encourage staff to use and bin tissues
– Discourage Staff from travelling to affected areas
– Staff who have come from affected areas should self-isolate for 14-days
– Encourage Staff who are showing symptoms of the virus to contact their Medical Professional immediately and self-isolate
– Review your policies and practices and support more flexible and agile working
4. Measures to ensure business continuity include:
– Assess own level of exposure to business disruption caused by the virus
– Put in place contingency plans that cover worst case scenario and most probable scenario
– Meet regularly with Staff to review precautions and ensure that they are still fit for purpose
5. How should Employers respond to possible scenarios:
A. Employees who have been told by a medical professional to self-isolate would have an entitlement to recently introduced statutory sick-pay. Boyd HR would advise to provide any contractual sick-pay.
B. Allow Staff who are asked to self-isolate to work from home where possible and continue to pay as normal
C. If an Employer sends Staff home as a precaution then the employee is following the reasonable instruction of their employer and should be offered alternative accommodations i.e. work from home, work the time back, annual leave or paid/unpaid leave.
D. If the employee chooses to self-isolate but have not been advised to do so by a Medical Professional and have no symptoms, they can be required to attend work by their employer. The employer should, however, take individual’s concerns seriously if they have underlying medical conditions including mental health.
6. In the event of school/crèche closures, employers should be proactive and consult with their Staff individually on the impact for them where their children are sent home because of school closures. Reasonable accommodations should be made which may include working from home, working flexible hours, etc.
If you have any queries and would like to discuss your business concerns please call Michael Boyd, Boyd HR on 074 912 3150 or at email@example.com.