As business owners we should all have a business continuity plan, but talking to my small business clients, I wonder how many of us do?
What happens if we are ill? What happens to our business when we go away? What happens if our Internet access goes down? What happens if our staff can’t get to work?
Loosing a day’s work as a result of the strike is a real problem for many businesses, especially as it is still unclear how we will be affected. Will the trains be running, will the airports be open, will staff have Childcare if their child’s school closes? Will there be gridlock on the roads? The disruptions are endless and not something our generation have really had to deal with. I certainly remember the teachers strikes of the mid 80’s and the impact that had on my schooling, but I didn’t have the realities of running a business to contend with.
As many of my readers know I have one employee, she can work from home, but can she work with a six year old running around? Should she work from the office and bring him in? According to David Cameron, it would appear so. But what if we worked in a shop, or a factory? Would it be appropriate or safe for her to being her child to work?
If she takes the day off, should it be paid or unpaid? Could she perhaps use her holiday time? Well she could if she had time left, but as we are nearly at the end of the year, most employees should have used up their annual leave or have some booked off for the Christmas period. So what can an employer do? Technically if an employee has no leave left to use, you could either give them the extra day, or insist they take it unpaid. If you offer an annual leave scheme above statutory, i.e. provide more than 28 days, you could
‘borrow’ a day from next year. Be aware you can’t use this option if you only provide the statutory minimum as the law requires employees to have their full statutory entitlement in a year.
So, what should you do?
- Think about how your business will be affected
- Think about the culture of your business and the message you want to give out.
- Discuss the options with your staff
- Make a decision and communicate it to everyone, so there are no surprises
If in doubt, seek advise, but make sure you stay legal and safe.
Share your thoughts and let us know how your business will continue during the strike on Wednesday. If you are reading this post after the strike, do let us know how you got on and the issues you encountered.