To gain an insight into the latest information directly from the Government, our General Manager Alice attended a discussion with Charles McCall, Head of Retail and Professional Business Services (Domestic) at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Mark Harrop who works for the Department of Health and Social Care on NHS Test and Trace. We also heard from Patrick Brodie, a partner at RPC Law Firm focusing on employment practise.
Here are some of the key questions that were answered:
Do I still need to collect customer contact information, or have customers sign-in/scan QR codes?
No, this is not a requirement.
Do my employees need to inform me if they test positive for COVID?
No, they have no legal obligation to notify their employer of a positive test.
Is there any obligation for my employees to take COVID tests?
No, there is no statutory obligation.
If someone comes into work with COVID symptoms, what should I do?
The expectation going forward from the Government is that COVID is treated like any other illness; it has no status above the common cold or the flu. In the Prime Minister’s speech, he said: “After 1st April, we will encourage people with Covid-19 symptoms to exercise personal responsibility, just as we encourage people who may have flu to be considerate to others.”
Will there be any guidance published for us to follow?
There is new guidance on working safely that is due to come out, but not until late March/early April. This will be a holistic view on best practice, and what you SHOULD do rather than what you MUST do.
What’s happening with Statutory Sick Pay?
The SSP Rebate Scheme will end on the 24th of March 2022.
The Government has delegated the responsibility of controlling COVID-19 in the workplace to individual business and organisations, now that there is no longer a framework to follow.
It is now vital for organisations to refine their internal process and procedures. The policies that you put in place will be tailored to your individual workplace. The aim should be creating a safe place for you and your staff.
Here are some of the key things that your organisation should consider:
- What is the process if a staff member reports symptoms of COVID?
- Will you ask people who are unwell to self-isolate? If you do, and they are unable to work from home, will you still pay them?
- What is the process for staff who are vulnerable, pregnant or high-risk?
- Employees are likely to have a view on working with another college who has tested positive, so how can you ensure the safety and comfort of the entire team?
Businesses are anticipating that pay is going to be an issue. The fear is that those who have used up their sick-pay entitlement will be put in a position of financial hardship or potentially working whilst both unwell and potentially contagious.
We are getting together on Friday morning at 10am with our HR expert Nicky Gleadow, who will be on hand to discuss the above and offer some guidance on creating a safe space at work.
If you’d like to come along, you can register to attend this week’s session here. These sessions are really informal and open to any business operating across the MI sector.