27th May 2020
Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, employment has been one of the most affected areas. Our team of highly experienced employment lawyers has been working hard to provide up to date support and guidance on the implementation, and subsequent extensions, of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and is now working with clients to support them as they prepare their business, facilities, staff and HR policies for the return to work.
The gradual removal of furloughing, and the phasing out of state support on employee costs, will drive critical decisions for many businesses whether they are currently open for business and coping with restrictions already or in differing phases of planning to re-open.
All businesses are grappling with the implications of social distancing in the workplace both from the perspective of Health and Safety and organisational efficiency. What is required and where does the balance lie between your duty of care and proportionality?
The commercial impact and the social consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic means that some businesses will not operate as normal for quite some time. Employers are reviewing overheads, headcount and available skills in light of anticipated activities and considering the HR implications.
As a business owner or HR professional there will be many areas for consideration as you plan the return to work for your employees, particularly surrounding the extensive HSE measures published by the Government. We have collated a list of FAQs for employers and HR professionals which covers many of the potential key issues and provides guidance and clarification on responsibilities. Why not join one of our ‘Future of Work’ meetings, an interactive discussion in which we examine the challenges surrounding planning the return to work.
There are many factors to be considered when deciding the order in which employees return to work, and particular attention will need to be paid to those in at risk categories or who live with someone in an at risk category. To ensure all decisions are made with the full facts, and in conjunction with employees (rather than on their behalf which could open the door to discrimination complaints), we strongly recommend that employers survey their employees in order to identify potential issues/concerns which can then be factored into the employer’s return to work planning. An example questionnaire can be found here.
All our employment-related COVID-19 resources can be found in this hub, but if you would like to speak to an employment specialist please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team or visit our main COVID-19 hub for additional resources.