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Coronavirus Acas guidelines

Covid-19: Acas guidance for employers

The following guidance has been provided by Acas, offering impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice.

Good practice

Employers should consider some simple steps to make sure they continue to provide their staff and customers with a ‘duty of care’. This means they must do all they reasonably can to support their health, safety and wellbeing.

It’s good practice for employers to:

  • make sure everyone is social distancing if they come into the workplace;
  • be especially careful and take extra steps for vulnerable groups, including those who are pregnant, aged 70 or over, or who have a long-term health condition;
  • hold meetings as remote calls and avoid travel as much as possible;
  • make sure managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace shows symptoms of the virus;
  • make sure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date; and
  • keep everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace

Stay at home

Employers should encourage and support their workforce to work from home where possible. You should continue to pay employees as usual, keep in regular contact with them and check on the employee’s health and wellbeing.

Self-isolation and sick pay

Those who follow advice to stay at home and who cannot work as a result will be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP), even if they are not themselves sick. Employers should use their discretion and respect the medical need to self-isolate in making decisions about sick pay.

Employees in self-isolation need to follow their workplace’s usual sickness reporting process. Employees can ‘self-certify’ for the first 7 days off work. This means following their workplace process but not having to get a note from a doctor or NHS helpline 111.

Those self-isolating due to coronavirus for more than 7 days can get an online self-isolation note

Holiday

During the coronavirus outbreak, it may not be possible for staff to take all their holiday entitlement. They may be getting to the end of their leave year with holiday still left to take.

The government has introduced a temporary new law to deal with coronavirus disruption. Employees and workers can carry over up to 4 weeks’ paid holiday over a 2-year period, if they cannot take holiday due to coronavirus.

This article is provided for general information only and is not intended to be nor should it be relied upon as legal advice in relation to any particular matter. If you would like more information in relation to employment matters including maternity leave and redundancy protection please contact Richard Berry at richard.berry@burlingtonslegal.com.

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