Coronavirus – your business and employees

Image of a virus
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

The World Health Organisation has categorised the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) as a pandemic and there is no doubt that it is a far-reaching virus. The data there shows that there are few countries who have yet to report a case.

But what should we, the public do, and what about our employers?

In the case of the public, the advice from Public Health England is very clear. The public should be:

* Washing our hands more frequently either with soap and water or with an alcohol-based rub
* Coughing/Sneezing into tissues or the inside of our elbows
* Disposing of tissues straightaway
* Stay at home if for 7 days if you have a high temperature or a cough.
* Use NHS online or call 111 for advice (stay at home guidance)
* Don’t call 111 to tell them that you are self-isolating
* Don’t call 999 unless it is a genuine emergency

The government has published some helpful guides :
Guidance for Employees
Guidance for Employers
Support for Businesses

If you are an employer, then using the data from the above links will help. Your HR department (if you have one) can also support you in communicating with your team and ensuring that everyone is clear on what the business is expecting.

It is a rapidly changing situation so what you do may change on the latest advice. As this is being written, the BBC is reporting on a number of sporting fixtures that are being postponed or cancelled.

Practical steps to take as an Employer during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Use this Checklist to help see where any gaps are in your planning. This was originally created by the CIPD as a resource for its members.

Pay SSP and any contractual sick pay from day 1 of an employee self-isolating in line with government announcements. As Payroll Software providers scramble to get their software updated, you may have to do this manually, to begin with.

Look at whether team members can, practically work from home:

* Do staff use laptops or desktop computers?
* How will you handle phone calls? mobile phones or VOIP?
* How secure is the access into the organisation when working from home?
* What about childcare? can the employee work with minimal distractions?

If you are unsure and want to speak to us, please do email us at contact@es-hr.co.uk and we will pass the details to Emma.

This is a scary time for many people and Coronavirus has killed individuals. However, by taking some basic practical steps, we can all, hopefully, come through this relatively unscathed. The reports in the media are suggesting that the deaths are in the elderly or people with a compromised immune system so let’s make sure we all do our bit to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Emma is not a health professional but can support you with communications to employees, help with policy amendments or just be a sounding board whilst you work through this.

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