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The implications of coronavirus for your staff

The spread of coronavirus means that businesses are having to deal with unique work situations and put in place business continuity plans that can fundamentally affect their staff and businesses.

The Morrisons employment team sets out an action plan for employers and answers some of the tricky questions you may have.

This note is up to date as of Wednesday 25 March 2020. We will be updating the guidance set out here as the situation changes so do also check our other blogs here or download our guidance note here.

EDIT : A more recent employment law guidance note, updated on Thursday 16th April, can be found here.

Seven point Action Plan for Employers

  1. Keep yourself informed and regularly check both Government guidance and Acas guidance
  2. Communicate clearly with your workers the majority of whom are probably working at home now unless they are key workers, and provide regular updates e.g. relaying latest government guidance and addressing issues (including for their wellbeing e.g. virtual get togethers) within your own business. Consider having a special intranet page and /or dedicated manager for this purpose.
  3. Identify any high risk employees who are vulnerable according to government guidance and discuss their working arrangements with them
    Guidance for those 70+ or with underlying health conditions
    Further details about extremely vulnerable
  4. Decide on your approach to sick pay. You may decide to continue full pay to such employees for a period even if not obliged to, but will need to weigh this against the costs to your business, taking into account the financial assistance the government has made available.
  5. Ensure you have the IT infrastructure and make the other necessary practical arrangements for employees working from home.
  6. Check your insurance policies.
  7. Have a business contingency plan in case you need to downsize. Are there steps you can take now to avoid redundancies such as staff taking holidays, working reduced hours or implementing the new coronavirus job retention scheme (furlough leave)?

Our guidance note covers the below topics

  • How has coronavirus affected the entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay?
  • Do employees still have to provide fit notes, even if they are self isolating?
  • What does this mean for our company sick pay scheme?
  • What about employees who cannot come into work for childcare reasons now that the schools have closed?
  • Can I require employees to take paid holidays?
  • I am faced with having to close my business and can no longer afford staff salaries. What are my options?
  • Are there any other emergency measures being considered by the Government?

Should you have any queries about the impact of the coronavirus on your business contact your usual Morrisons adviser or Emma McLoughlin, Senior Associate Solicitor by phone on 020 8971 1088 or email at [email protected] 


Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this newsletter/blog are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.

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