COVID 19 – A Few Burning HR Questions Answered

As the situation with Coronavirus unfolds questions from our clients regarding all aspects of their business keep on coming. As we know many of these issues will be applicable to most companies we have shared them for you here.

Are employees who are self-isolating entitled to sick pay?

The payment will be available from day one of quarantine and works out at £94.25 per week.

If someone falls into the high-risk group (underlying health issues) and decides they want to stay at home but aren’t able to work from home, would they receive SSP or no pay?

As the guidance currently stands, they would be entitled to SSP. This is based on The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020 issued last Friday that add into the definition of sickness, “isolating himself from other people in such a manner as to prevent infection or contamination with coronavirus disease, in accordance with guidance published by Public Health England”.

If we have to close the business or operate on reduced hours due to Coronavirus what options do we have?

If you have a contractual right to place employees on short time working or to lay them off, you could seek to rely on this. If you don’t have this right, you may need to consult with them.

What should I do if an employee refuses to come to work?

If for any reason there is an increased risk of catching the Coronavirus in your workplace, some employees could refuse to come into work due to concern for their health, which is totally understandable.

If this happens, it’s your duty as an employer to listen to what their concerns are and provide them with reassurance. Keeping employees informed of all the steps the company is taking to keep employees safe as soon as they are taken will help immensely.

Being as considerate and flexible as possible is also key during this difficult period.

Forcing an employee to come into work against their will is likely to cause them distress and could cause you issues in the long run if they were to raise a grievance, for example.

Offering a temporary flexible contract, holiday or unpaid leave or allowing them to work from home could help alleviate the situation and avoid costly situations in the future.

With cases rising rapidly across the country, staying away from crowded offices will greatly reduce the likelihood of transmission and so for those employees who can work from home it’s worth considering this as a potential option for those who can benefit from this advantage.

Until the Coronavirus is under control, the benefits of remote working do outweigh the negatives. If it’s handled the right way, your organisation can be as productive as ever.

This depends on the current circumstances and whether you believe employees are at risk. To fulfill your duty of care to your employees, you should do everything reasonably practicable to manage the risk effectively. Where appropriate, this may involve arranging home working, or if this is not possible, just sending them home.


Contact us if we can be of help on any of the topics included in this information or any other HR related matters, please call the team on