- Working from home
Assuming you have procedures in place for working from home, alongside this the biggest element is trust in your employees to deliver what needs to be delivered. That’s of course necessary with a healthy amount of communication and it seems that you already have a great portal in terms of “Wurkr” to make this simple.
If anyone is working their usual hours at home, this would be paid as usual.
- Sick Pay
In terms of Sick Pay, it is suggested that SSP is paid for all of the eligible employees from day 1 (if coronavirus related). Also, as of 13th March, those who are not suffering with COVID-19, BUT wish to self isolate as a means to protect themselves, they can also claim SSP.
During this time it’s very important to be mindful that an element of flexibility is required in terms of notification (GP notes).
As you’re likely all aware, the situation and advice is changing day by day and we will be sending out regular updates.
Please be aware that Government guidance on over 70s, pregnant employees and those with health conditions is just that at the moment, guidance. This means if you tell them to go home and self isolate you are liable to pay full salary so be mindful of this.
- Duty of providing equipment – for working from home
I would suggest allowing WFH for your key essential players in the business if equipment is limited. In terms of government support for businesses I believe there is further guidance due to come out in relation to this very shortly.
In terms of working from home it is also about thinking of different ways to the norm and considering “what else” individuals could be doing in the event the equipment you have is not enough for example research
- if the employment contracts offer full salaried sick pay – for an initial specified period – do we as employers need to honour that or can the SSP option be used from the start due to specific circumstances and clear impact it’s going to have on business cash flow?
That’s quite a difficult situation and of course should be handled in a reasonable manner. In terms of support for the employee and keeping a great relationship I would suggest allowing them to visit but making sure they understand 1: the risks, 2: what this means in terms of Sick Pay should they self isolate
If this person can work from home during the period of isolation (if required) then great, if not it would fall to SSP.
I would suggest possibly offering for them to take holiday during this period if suitable for the business, as an option. Considering the situation it might be more favourable for them
- Tips on redundancy / unpaid leave
Your first point of call would be to check your policies and contractual information in relation to this.
Usually unpaid leave may be in relation to dependent leave.
We would always say that redundancies should be your very last option. Before considering this I would check lay-off / short term working in your contract.
You need to have the ability to do some of these options in contracts and policies.
Business Advice – VAT, PAYE
It’s worth phoning HMRC’s coronavirus helpline if you have any VAT or tax bills due – 0800 0159 559 – a number of clients are telling me they’ve been massively impressed and not needed any formal applications for time to pay but simply been told to defer payment for a month and update them if continuing to be a problem!