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Coronavirus and Employees

With Coronavirus (COVID-19) featuring heavily in the news employers may find themselves with some employment law questions regarding this area. We take a quick look at some of the most common ones below.

1. What if employees do not want to come to work for fear of Coronavirus?

Some employees may be worried about catching Coronavirus and not want to go into work. If this happens in your workplace it’s important that you should listen to the employee’s concerns and address the situation appropriately.

What this will mean in practice will depend on the employee’s particular concerns and the facts of the case. Depending on the employee’s role and your business, options you may wish to consider for resolving the situation may include allowing the employee to work from home, taking time off as holiday or as unpaid leave.

If you have an employee in your organisation who does not want to attend work due to Coronavirus fears, please contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd for advice on your situation.

2. If an employee falls ill with Coronavirus do our usual sick leave and sick pay entitlements apply?

Yes, although you may need to be flexible regarding the provision of medical evidence as  it may not be practical for the employee to obtain/provide this as they usually would.

3. If Coronavirus causes supply problems or similar issues which mean we don’t have enough work for our employees temporarily, what can we do?

You may be able to use short time-working or lay-off if you have the necessary clause in your employment contracts.

Short time working/layoff enables you to reduce an employee’s working hours or give them no work for a period of time without the need to continue to pay them full pay. Instead, employees will only be paid for the hours they actually work and if there is a completely workless day, a ‘guarantee payment’ if they qualify for it. Guarantee pay is currently £29 per day (subject to a maximum of five days in any three months).

If you are considering using short time working or lay-off in your organisation, it’s important to understand how it works as in some cases employees can become entitled to a redundancy payment through short time working or lay-off. For further information on short time working and lay-off, please contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd.

If you have an employment law matter you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact us as we are happy to help.


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