The British Government has said the spread of COVID-19 is now ‘likely’. At an emergency COBRA meeting on Monday 2 March the government finalised plans to tackle and slow down the spread of the virus in the UK.

How does this impact employers and employees?

When deciding how to respond to COVID-19, employers need to take into account:

  • Their duty to take reasonable care of the health and safety of their workforce
  • The terms of their contracts of employment and other contracts
  • Their duties under the Equality Act 2010 not to discriminate against employees and workers with protected characteristics and particularly the duty under that Act to make reasonable adjustments for the disabled

Many questions arise in relation to the advice by government and public health bodies such as:

  • When should an employee self isolate?
  • What are the employers' rights in telling an employee to self isolate?
  • Do policies or contracts conflict with official advice in extraordinary circumstances?
  • What is the impact on pay?
  • What are employers and employees' rights if schools close due to COVID-19?
  • How do you enforce hygiene rules to contain the spread of the virus?
  • What rights do employers have in relation to an employee's partner or family activity?

For guidance and advice on employers obligations, or employees' rights, in relation to self-isolation, pay, sick pay, policies and contracts, please contact our employment team on 01753 279029 or to ensure you are acting lawfully during this period.

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Jo Davis
Practice Group Leader

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