Govt Announces an End to Coronavirus Restrictions

The prime minister has announced an end to all remaining Covid restrictions, with the legal requirement to self-isolate coming to an end on 24th February.  Is it too soon to end restrictions?

I suppose time will tell.  But certainly there will be mixed feelings about the announcement, both optimism and nervousness.

For employers, there are already concerns as to how to “live with covid” as against the duty to provide a safe working environment.  From 1 April, covid tests will no longer be free for the majority and employers will no longer have to explicitly consider covid in their health and safety risk assessments.  But from now until that date, many feel that they are being pulled in all directions.  Keen to get back to “normality” but mindful of the large number within the workforce who may be feeling anxious, or concerned for some who may be more vulnerable to the virus.

It’s likely that many will require staff to work from home if they are symptomatic and/or if they test positive in this interim period.  For those that cannot do their role from home, there needs to be consideration as to what the approach will be with regards to pay.  If you do not provide normal pay for sickness, the employee will be financially impacted by the request to stay away from work.  This would also be a disincentive for an employee to notify you of a positive test result, largely defeating the object of the exercise.

Whatever your approach, it’s likely to be a difficult five weeks ahead for workforce management.

Please do get in touch with us to discuss a tailored approach for your business.

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    Jayme NicholsonPartner and Head of Employment

    Jayme is a Partner and Head of our Employment team

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