Answers to current queries re Covid19, or its impact, at work
I thought it might be useful to share some of the queries that we’re having at the moment.
We are frequently being asked about what action can be taken by an employer for breaching the current requirements (whatever those may be) in relation to Covid19, and indeed, it could be appropriate to take disciplinary action for a breach. However, to be on the safe side, as the rules are changing so much, it is probably worth writing to employees reminding them of the importance of following the Government guidelines to prevent an exponential increase in the rise of Covid19 and that taking responsibility for each other’s health and safety is a core requirement of day-to-day working and it is incumbent on every employee, not to put themselves or others at risk by their acts or omissions. If a breach was perceived that would place colleagues at risk, employers could regard this as a very serious matter and deal with it under the disciplinary procedure, but employers would be best warning employees about this before any action is taken.
True to its promise, the NHS have launched the Covid19 app on Thursday 24th September. If there is a place of work then customers and visitors in England will be able to check in on their entry using their phone, instead of filling in a check-in book or specific business tool. This then allows NHS test and trace to pursue contacts, should that be required. So, businesses who are already using their own system are encouraged to switch to the new NHS Test and Trace QR code. This means when somebody enters a workplace and scans an official QR poster, the venue information will be logged on the individual’s phone and will stay there for 21 days. Thus, if a coronavirus outbreak is identified, the venue ID in question can be sent to all devices to check if users have been in that location which will enable uses to have an alert with advice about what to do.
There are several employers who think that if an individual has fewer than two years’ service, employment can be terminated without a problem. Apart from the moral issues about being transparent with individuals and giving them the chance to put something right that may not be, there are no service qualifications for a tribunal claim associated with discrimination, whistle blowing and less favourable time off for dependents. It’s worth being careful when you bring somebodies employment to an end with limited service as this could come back and bite you.