As an employer, in the next couple of weeks there is going to be a significant shift of responsibility from the Government to you!
As I said last week, you need to take the decisions which are right for your business, but you also need to act legally, fairly and in compliance with your policies and procedures.
You need to decide TODAY what you are going to do about employees who are either stuck overseas or who have to quarantine on their return to the UK. This is about Spain today, but with the shifting nature of Coronavirus, this could equally be Holland, France or Italy tomorrow / next week / next month.
You need to write a clear, legally compliant policy which sets out what is expected of employees in the event they are stranded overseas or have to isolate on their return. As an employer, you have a duty of care to all your employees and MUST NOT allow employees to break quarantine. Your policy needs to be clearly communicated to all staff NOW so that they are able to take an informed decision about their holiday abroad and, as with all company policies, you must apply it consistently. At this stage, you also need to bear in mind that some employees will now be caught overseas or now required to quarantine when this was never an issue when they booked or left for their holiday, so be compassionate and understanding in your discussions and communications, but don’t lay yourself open to the risks of discrimination.
Where possible and practical to do so, quarantining employees should be allowed to work from home. You need proper measures in place to ensure that their performance is not impacted by being at home and enabling their line manager to manage them effectively. If they are able to work then they are entitled to full pay as normal.
If someone is not able to work from home due to the nature of their normal work, is there something else you can ask them to do? This is not going to be possible in every case, but there may be instances where you can divide up work slightly differently to enable people to continue to work from home.
In some cases, perhaps retail, hospitality or manufacturing working from home is just not an option and therefore these employees can be placed on sick pay for the 2 weeks of quarantine. It will start from day 1 and there is no waiting period in this instance as it is Covid related.
As has been our mantra throughout Covid-19: Communication, Consistency, Clarity, Compassion and Compliance are essential tools when navigating your way through this challenge.