Update on Coronavirus COVID-19 (16th March 2020)

Please read the advice to small businesses from @FederationofSmallBusinesses about the coronavirus COVID-19 http://bit.ly/3aPMGXP

What are my duties as an employer?

  1. Employers have a duty under health and safety legislation to take steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all their employees, so far as reasonably practicable, including those who are particularly at risk for any reason. Employees also have a duty to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of people they work with. They must cooperate with their employer to enable it to comply with its duties under health and safety legislation. Employees who refuse to cooperate, or who recklessly risk their own health or that of others in the workplace, could be disciplined where this is appropriate. Where, for example, employees attend work but the employer reasonably believes the employee has symptoms that would require them to self-isolate in accordance with current government advice (i.e. where they have a new persistent cough and/or high temperature), it is likely that the employer has a duty of care towards other staff to require the employee displaying those symptoms to stay at home and self-isolate for a period of 7 days. Employees will be entitled to SSP in this scenario under new temporary SSP Regulations (see below). Alternatively, where employees are fit enough to carry out some work whilst self-isolating and it is practicable for them to do so, employees would be paid their normal wages for the period they are carrying out work.Individuals in self-isolation must follow the published advice from Public Health bodies on how to self-isolate effectively. This includes, not having visitors to their home and requesting that friends, family or delivery drivers drop off deliveries at the doorstep.Employers are advised to keep an eye on the current government advice and to refer employees to it where they may be concerned about their individual risk. The advice is reviewed by the government on a daily basis:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-publicThe government has produced guidance for employers, which can be accessed here:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19

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