UK & Europe
Employment, Pensions & Immigration
The government has produced the 'COVID-19 Secure' guidelines which apply to a number of different workplaces, and which are intended to ensure that workplaces (and those working in them) are as safe as possible during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidelines impose significant responsibility on employers to ensure individuals are able to return to a safe workplace and system of work, and there are a number of grey areas which will need to be assessed by employers on case-by-case basis. In this a
The government is encouraging people to return to work from 13 May if their employer invites them to do so. The guidance reiterates employers' legal responsibilities to protect workers and others from risks to their health and safety. It is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of Covid-19, however the onus is on employers to think about the specific risks their staff may face, and to do everything that is reasonably practicable to minimise those risks.
The 8 sector focussed guidelines
The 8 sector focussed guidelines are:
The themes applicable to all businesses
The guidelines are all broadly based on the same key themes:
For more discussion on these themes, see our earlier article.
Understanding the challenge
The extent and nature of the obligations established in these guidelines, present significant challenges for employers to overcome before businesses can resume (full) operations. They are also subject to change so employers will need to be ready to adapt quickly and effectively.
It will be important for employers to understand the specific guidelines which apply in relation to each type of workplace, particularly those employers whose businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and/or a fleet of vehicles. Nevertheless, there will be a number of questions arising from this guidance which will be common to all employers, notwithstanding the sector. These are considered below.
The key issues employers need to think about
To help you focus on the key issues which you should be addressing when implementing the guidelines, we have listed below a set of questions to ask yourself so you can prepare your workplace for "the new normal" -
Although the 'COVID-19 Secure' guidelines are helpful as a starting point, the guidelines will only take you so far. Employers should remember that their existing obligations under employment and health and safety laws remain unchanged.
In practice, we suspect that many employers will have to grapple with many if not all of these questions over the next few weeks and months. Furthermore many of the answers are likely to be fact specific and nuanced.
We are advising on these issues on a daily basis and if, therefore, we can assist you with any of these questions or any other people related issues please contact your usual advisor at Clyde & Co.
For more Coronavirus (Covid-19) information please see our Coronavirus hub here.
Written by Charles Urquhart, Ashleigh Nelson and Rebecca Compson.