Following the Government’s announcement on 10th May some businesses are being encouraged to get back up and running from this week.
For example, the requirement that all businesses, regardless of size, have to legally carry out a COVID-19 specific risk assessment. The guidance states that ‘if possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their websites and we expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so”
In addition, we are collating information and advice from a selection of trusted relevant sources to ensure we bring you the best fully rounded guidance at all times.
And as such, in response to the Government’s guidance the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), the professional body for HR and people development, has issued information to businesses with regard to the key three tests which need to be taken before bringing employees back to the workplace.
This guidance is to ensure business owners put in place practical steps to ensure all staff (and potential visitors to their premises) are safe.
Three Key Back to Work Tests
The steps recommended by the CIPD include:
- Is it essential? – If people can continue to work from home they must continue to do that for the foreseeable future. If they cannot work from home, is their work deemed essential or could the business continue to use the Government’s Job Retention Scheme for longer, giving them the time needed to put safety measures and clear employee guidance and consultation in place?
- Is it safe? – Employers have a duty of care to identify and manage risks to ensure that the workplace is sufficiently safe to return to. This will involve social distancing measures, potentially reconfiguring workspaces and common areas, possible changes to working hours to reduce risk of exposure, and increased workplace cleaning and sanitation measures. Organising your workplace to reduce the likelihood that coronavirus can spread is an important part of your risk assessment mentioned previously, that will allow you to work safely during the coronavirus outbreak. Employers should take their time with gradual returns to work to test these measures in practice and ensure they can work with larger numbers before encouraging more of their workforce back.
- Is it mutually agreed? – CIPD research found that 4 in 10 people are anxious about returning to work and there are concerns people could be forced back.
Communicating with Employees
Here at HCHR, we consistently advise our clients to keep communicating – good communication between employers and employees underpins all successful businesses – avoiding a multitude of problems (often expensive ones) further on down the line.
Consulting workers on health and safety is a two-way process, allowing workers to raise concerns and influence decisions on managing health and safety.
It’s vital that there is a clear dialogue between employers and their people so concerns, such as commuting by public transport, can be raised and individual needs and worries considered. There will need to be flexibility on both sides to accommodate different working times or schedules as ways of managing some of these issues.
The outbreak has been a worrying time for everyone and it is important that workers feel supported and listened to. It is crucial that their wellbeing is being looked after while working.
HCHR and Back to Work Support
At HCHR, we are working constantly with our clients to ensure that they are putting the steps in place to safeguard the safety of staff through robust operational procedures and assessments and by doing so ensuring that they are complying with all requirements, therefore greatly reducing the chances of any negative repercussions later on.
If you would like further advice on how we can work with you to address HR issues relating to the current situation due to Covid-19 or any other HR concern, please call us on the number below. We have a number of affordable packages available for all sizes of business.
The HCHR outsource service could be the solution for you. We have a team of dedicated, qualified HR professionals who are able to offer support across all HR areas.
The benefits of an outsourced HR function include:
- Cost savings in terms of benefit costs
- Access to, and support from, a wide range of HR specialists
- Continuous, ongoing suppor