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Now live: test and trace service

Posted on: June 1st, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

The test and trace system is now live. It means anyone with coronavirus symptoms can be tested, the service informs contacts of any need to self-isolate, and requires individuals who test positive to share that fact with close recent contacts.

Here’s what you need to know: 

  1. If an employee is notified that they have had contact with an infected person, they will be told to remain at home for 14 days from the most recent contact. They will be eligible for SSP during that period unless they can work from home or take holiday.
  2. An employee told by the test and trace service to remain at home will receive a notification which they can show you as evidence of the fact they need to self-isolate (and which can be used by you to claim under the SSP rebate scheme). You should not encourage them back into work until the 14 days has expired.
  3. Employees with coronavirus symptoms should be encouraged to alert colleagues they’ve been in contact with within the previous 48 hours. Those colleagues must avoid individuals at high risk of contracting coronavirus, take extra care to socially distance, watch out for symptoms and maintain good hygiene.
  4. The test and trace service will ask your employee to share a positive test result with close recent contacts. The service will liaise with particular visited sites including care homes and notify contacts who need to self-isolate.
  5. The app is still in testing stage but when available you’ll be able to ask your employees to download it to minimise the risk of them contracting and spreading coronavirus, particularly where they have travelled on public transport.

All of the above should be included within your ‘safe return to work policy’. If you don’t already have one in place, click here to purchase ours.

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (01 June 2020), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Executive People Update

Posted on: May 28th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

As part of keeping you in our focus during the coronavirus pandemic, our executive people update ensures you’re on top of the latest changes in legislation, case and employment law trends. Click here for more information about how we can support you to manage the latest changes.

Contact tracing 

The NHS track and trace system has launched today (without the anticipated mobile app). Contact tracers will be making contact via email, text and phone calls  if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. You will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days and “do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis“. Guidance for employers has been issued.

If you or your employees are contacted by the scheme, you’ll be directed to this website. The tracer will provide you the details necessary to sign into the website. You should explain to employees the importance of remaining vigilant against hoax or scam calls as contact tracers will not ask for personal details over the phone unless you’re unable to access the internet.

SSP claims portal and regulation amendments 

If you have less than 250 employees, you’re now able to claim back SSP from the government if it has been paid due to coronavirus. You can access the claims portal and further details here.

Amendments have been made to the SSP Regulations to mean that employees told to self-isolate at home for 14 days by the track and trace scheme are eligible for SSP.

Updated shielding guidance 

The government is now advising people to shield until 30 June 2020. This is important if you’re planning to unfurlough employees coming to the end of the period of 12 weeks explained in their initial shielding letter. You can find the specific paragraph here, or the full guidance here.

Record keeping during the pandemic

You must now keep a record for six years (previously five) of any correspondence to your employees putting them on, or taking them off furlough and any claims that you’ve made. We’d recommend keeping a record of all decisions made during the pandemic for the same period of time to provide a robust audit and evidence trail (should you need to rely on it).

New symptoms  

A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste are now classed as main symptoms of coronavirus. This is along with a high temperature and a new, continuous cough.

If you need support with the challenges, employment law risks and considerations of returning employees back to work, we’ve created a comprehensive guidance note to help. Click here to find out more.

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (28 May 2020), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Considering redundancies? – join our webinar

Posted on: May 27th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

When: 3rd June – 9:30am > Click here to register.

Challenging times can result in difficult decisions. When forced to consider redundancies, the impact across all levels of an organisation can be far reaching.

Providing the right support – to ensure that correct processes are followed, that HR teams are properly supported and that affected individuals are given the best possible chance to secure the right next step for them – can have a positive and lasting effect.

This unique webinar explores redundancy from three perspectives:

  1. Employment law
  2. HR process and communications
  3. The people impact

We’ll provide practical tips, guidance and solutions to help you navigate through the current complexity, help you understand where the risks are hiding and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your organisation and the people within it. Here’s a detailed agenda of what we’ll cover.

Click here to register.

New opportunities / challenges: flexible working requests

Posted on: May 26th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Working from home, furlough, unpaid leave – they’ve opened our eyes to the possibility of working differently.

Whether it’s a short term request or a longer term arrangement it’s likely there’ll be plenty of flexible working requests heading your way. Here are our top five suggestions to responding to requests:

  1. Be proactive – if you’ve identified opportunities to work differently whilst remaining productive and possibly saving on expense, make the first move.
  2. Understand your legal rights – only those employees with 26 weeks’ service at the point of the request have the right to ask for changes (and only if they haven’t already made a request for flexibility in the previous 12 months). You’ll need to comply with the Flexible Working Regulations, in particular by dealing with the request within three months. Click here for guidance on managing a flexible working request.
  3. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing – consider with the employee alternatives they may not have thought about, short term and long term options, and trial periods with built in flexibility to give you time to establish whether the new arrangement works for both of you. Whatever you agree, capture it in writing.
  4. Up to date policies – think data security, home working, company property to name a few.
  5. Employee management – from risk assessments so you can check a home working environment is safe, adjusting targets, challenges around driving performance, and alternatives to usual communication – they’ll all need thinking about carefully if you’re going to make sure that the new flexibility means continued productivity and team commitment.

We’ve created a ‘back to work guidance note’ to support you in comprehensive detail through the employment law issues, considerations and risk factors in returning back to work (including advice on managing flexible working requests). Click here if you’d like to find out more and purchase a copy.

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (27 May 2020), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Returning to work: employment law issues explained

Posted on: May 20th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Getting back to business and reopening your doors brings with it plenty of practical and people challenges. Whether that’s how to unfurlough employees, managing employees reluctant to come back to work, or how furlough impacts a redundancy process…there’s a lot to think about!

To guide you in comprehensive detail through the employment law issues, considerations and risk factors, we’ve created a brand new return to work guidance note. Our straight-talking, user-friendly guidance covers:

  1. Ending furlough – the do’s and don’ts when ‘unfurloughing’ employees
  2. Reluctant returners – 11 potential scenarios and your options for managing them
  3. Annual leave and bonus – how the new holiday carry-over laws work in practice and your options for deferring bonuses
  4. Health and safety – employment law risks, how to deal with concerns and protection for certain groups
  5. Day to day employee management – how to adjust your processes accordingly (conducting remote performance or disciplinary meetings for example) to maintain fairness and compliance
  6. Sickness absence and sick pay – the rules around SSP and when it’s payable
  7. Redundancies – the implications of the pandemic and furlough, maintaining a fair process, selecting employees and redundancy pay

Our guidance note will provide you everything you need to minimise the employment law risks, challenges and people issues in getting back to business. Click here if you’d like to purchase a copy (£250+VAT).