May 13, 2020
So, following the latest announcement, you may have been left feeling that there were some mixed messages? One thing that did stand out in the address was that some businesses have been given a green light to start moving back towards’ business as usual’
Before you do, however, the government are urging you to consider these 5 key points which are practical steps to be implemented ‘as soon as it is practical’;
- Work from home if you can, but those who cannot and whose workplace has not been told to close have been told they should go to work. Staff should speak to their employer about when their workplace will open.
- Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions – this guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation and employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and the Government expects all businesses with over 50 employees to do so.
- Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one-way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.
- Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk -employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.
- Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.
The guidance applies to businesses currently open. This also includes guidance for shops which the Government believes may be in a position to begin a phased reopening at the earliest from the 1 June. Guidance for other sectors that are not currently open will be developed and published ahead of those establishments opening to give those businesses time to plan.
The government will also shortly set up taskforces to work with these sectors to develop safe ways for them to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so, as well as pilot re-openings to test businesses’ ability to adopt the guidelines.
About the author
Lynn Collins - Head of HR Services
Lynn is a CIPD qualified, experienced HR generalist and training professional with a wealth of experience in both public and private sectors who provides a pragmatic, common sense approach to dealing with HR topics across the whole of the Employment life cycle. Lynn has particular strengths around Employment Law, managing attendance and performance cases; discipline and grievance; assisting organisations to deal with change and coaching line managers to help them take the best approach when dealing with tricky employment issues. She has a thoughtful and adaptable approach ensuring her advice is in alignment with your company culture, enhances your service delivery and minimises risk.