The coronavirus is currently featured on all news outlets, as a few cases have been found in the UK. People are starting to panic about whether it will spread further. This has led to employers considering what they should do for their business and employees.
Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) have published advice for employers and employees, which states that the risk of infection in UK workplaces is low.
They highlight that it's good practice to make sure everyone at work follows simple hygiene rules, such as:
- Washing hands thoroughly with hot water and soap
- Using tissues when sneezing or coughing and throwing them away in a bin
Acas also cover:
If employees do not want to go to work
Acas advise that “an employer should listen to any concerns staff may have.
If there are genuine concerns, the employer must try to resolve them to protect the health and safety of their staff. For example, the employer could offer flexible working where possible, such as homeworking.
If an employee still does not want to go in, they may be able to arrange with their employer to take the time off as holiday or unpaid leave. The employer does not have to agree to this.”
They advise that “the workplace's usual sick leave and pay entitlements apply if someone has coronavirus.
Employees should let their employer know as soon as possible if they're not able to go to work.”
At the end of their update, Acas have included some simple steps employers can take to help protect the health and safety of staff, in case coronavirus spreads more widely in the UK.