Coronavirus – Top 5 HR tips for UK employers

February 24, 2020

by: Mark Kaye

Summary

The outbreak of the coronavirus has created real challenges for businesses. From a people perspective, employers need to bear in mind both employment law and health and safety obligations.

Our top 5 HR tips are:

  1. Restrict non-essential travel to high risk areas – for example, many UK employers at present operate a very restrictive policy on travel to mainland China, and strongly discourage non-essential travel to Asia in general.
  2. Quarantine staff who have returned from specified infected zones for a period – for example, require staff to work remotely from home for a 14 day period following their return. If the nature of their role means they are unable to work remotely, the general principle is that employees who are ready and willing to work are entitled to continue to be paid. Note however that an employer’s obligations in this regard depend on the actual contractual employment terms in place.
  3. Deal appropriately and sensitively with staff who refuse to come to work for fear of infection – employers should listen to concerns staff may have and look to resolve genuine issues constructively. Ultimately, however, employers are entitled to discipline staff who refuse to obey a reasonable management instruction to come to work.
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