Many companies have been in the process of bringing their employees back to work from furlough as lockdown restrictions continue to relax. As we’ve recently seen, the possibility of local lockdowns being enforced as we move towards the Autumn and Winter months is high.
So what do employees need to consider in the event of a short notice local lockdown?
You could be fined up to £3200. You may also be vulnerable to claims of unfair dismissal and potentially discrimination particularly if you insist on employees with protected characteristics attending work.
Consider how the business managed during the country wide lockdown. What worked and what didn’t work? Can roles be carried out from home temporarily? Are you able to move parts of the business online or operate a reduced service?
This is unlikely. The coronavirus job retention scheme ends on 31st October 2020 and there is no indication that the government will offer any further support after this date.
Employees living in a lockdown area should work from home until the lockdown is lifted but if this is not possible you should conduct a risk assessment. Can you stagger their hours’ so they are travelling at non peak times? Can you reduce staff contact? Are they able to use public transport?
You need to remind employees that if they have been in contact with anyone with coronavirus symptoms, they have an obligation to inform you and need to self- isolate.
This could be an option providing the contract of employment allows this. Consult with employees before enforcing any changes.
Be proactive - talk to your employees to understand their position.
Plan now how you will deal with any potential problems a local lockdown could bring. Consider what difficulties the business may face and make contingency plans now.
If you need further help or guidance, please contact Highfield HR on 01656 336097