Q. What is the current guidance on self-isolation?
As of 17th March 2020 the NHS are recommending that:
- if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days.
- if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days. If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
Q. For those self-isolating because someone within their household is displaying symptoms of Coronavirus what should they be paid?
Employees and workers must receive any SSP (and Company Sick Pay if applicable) due to them if they need to self-isolate because:
- they have coronavirus
- they have coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature and/or new continuous cough)
- someone in their household has coronavirus symptoms
- they’ve been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111.
Q. An employee who lives with a person who is at higher risk but doesn’t have any symptoms doesn’t want to come to work as a precaution. What do they get paid?
In these circumstances as no one in their household has the symptoms the employee would not have any entitlement to sick pay. Therefore, they would need to request holidays or unpaid leave.
Q. I have a pregnant employee who carries out a customer facing role. We have reviewed her role but home working is not appropriate and we cannot put in place any other measures to eliminate/minimise the risk. What should we do?
In the event that you cannot eliminate the risk of harm to a pregnant employee you should place them on health and safety leave until such time as the risk has subsided. The pregnant employee would be paid their normal rate for this time.
Q. What do we do if someone becomes unwell at work
If someone becomes unwell in the workplace and has recently come back from an area affected by coronavirus, they should:
- get at least 2 metres (7 feet) away from other people
- go to a room or area behind a closed door, such as an office
- avoid touching anything
- cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in a bin, or if they do not have tissues, cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow
- use a separate bathroom from others, if possible
The unwell person should use their own mobile phone to call either:
- For NHS advice: 111 for an ambulance
- If they’re seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk: 999
They should tell the operator:
- their symptoms
- which country they’ve returned from in the last 14 days
- If someone with coronavirus comes to work
Q. What happens if I need to close the workplace
You should plan in case you need to close temporarily. For example, making sure your employees have a way to communicate with you and other people they work with.
Where work can be done at home, you could:
- ask staff who have work laptops or mobile phones to take them home so they can carry on working
- arrange paperwork tasks that can be done at home for staff who do not work on computers
In some situations, you might need to close down your business for a short time. In these circumstances you may need to invoke the Short Time Working / Temporary Lay-off clause in your contracts of employment (if applicable). If your contracts do not contain this clause you will need to pay employees their normal pay for this time off.