In case coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads more widely in the UK, employers should consider some simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff.
It's good practice for employers to:
- keep everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace
- make sure everyone's contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date
- make sure managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace develops the virus
- make sure there are clean places to wash hands with hot water and soap, and encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff, and encourage them to use them
- consider if protective face masks might help for people working in particularly vulnerable situations
- consider if any travel planned to affected areas is essential
- Employers must not single anyone out. For example, they must not treat an employee differently because of their race or ethnicity.
The workplace's usual sick leave and pay entitlements apply if someone has coronavirus.
Employees should let their employer know as soon as possible if they're not able to go to work.
Pay if someone has to go into self-isolation
The government has stated that if NHS 111 or a doctor advises an employee or worker to self-isolate, they should receive any Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to them. If the employer offers contractual sick pay, it’s good practice to pay this.
The employee must tell their employer as soon as possible if they cannot work. They should tell their employer the reason and how long they're likely to be off for.
The employer might need to be flexible if they require evidence from the employee or worker. For example, someone might not be able to provide a sick note ('fit note') if they've been told to self-isolate for 14 days.
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