CORONAVIRUS: What practical steps can employers take? Do you have to pay employees who are away from work due to health advice eg in self-isolation? Where can you access the latest information?

With the Coronavirus hitting the headlines on a daily basis at the moment, what should employers be doing to try and stay ahead of the game? Obviously it is better to be prepared and not need it, than wishing in hindsight that you had done something!

Advice is being updated regularly, so access the latest information on a regular basis via the Government and NHS website links provided below.

Overseas travel and holidays
If you have employees who are going / have been on holiday outside of the UK or who travel abroad for work, make sure that they are up to date with any travel advice or restrictions. Details for specific countries can be found on the Government’s website: Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Work environment precautions
There are some simple things that can help prevent the spread of this and other viruses in the workplace:

  • Provide hand sanitiser to individuals and / or in key locations around the premises and in vehicles
  • Clean door handles, keyboards, phones, steering wheels etc with wipes and surface sprays designed to kill bacteria and viruses
  • Remind employees to cover their mouths and noses with a tissue or sleeve (not their hands) when coughing or sneezing
  • Dispose of used tissues in the bin immediately
  • Wash hands with soap and water regularly

Symptoms of coronavirus are similar to those of other winter illnesses such as colds or flu, namely a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath.

If an employee has any of these symptoms, they are very UNLIKELY to have coronavirus if:

  • they have NOT been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus
  • they have NOT been to mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days*
  • they have NOT been to Iran, northern Italy, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar since 19 February 2020*

* The list of countries is being updated regularly. Stay up to date with all NHS guidelines and additional travel advice at: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Anyone who thinks they might have coronavirus should not go to their GP or A&E, but call 111 instead.

Do you have to pay a member of staff who is not at work due to suspected coronavirus, self-isolation, their child’s school being closed etc?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is not straightforward, as it really depends on the specific circumstances, whether any work can be done from home, your company policies and any relevant statutory rights. If you have an employee in this situation and don’t know how you should respond, please get in touch for a free, no obligation chat.

Tele 07913 121290 Email ns@nickysilverhr.co.uk