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Employee Questions About Coronavirus

‘A lack of communication leaves fear and doubt’ said Kellan Lutz and the current coronavirus pandemic provides a breeding ground for a lack of communication in the workplace. It is undoubtedly a trip into the unknown for all of us.

There are quite rightly concerns about future sales, supply chains and cash flow, but has the organisation provided its most valuable resource with the information it needs? Has it communicated the Company’s policy on the situation to its employees?

The Government advice on handwashing and singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice is very clear, but I propose the following employee questions that the business needs to provide answers for:

  • What is the company’s stance of sick pay if they have to self-isolate? Are employees paid at full-pay or do they just receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?
  • Does the organisation’s decision to potentially reduce pay have an effect on ‘presenteeism’, the polar opposite of what the authorities want to see?
  • If the employer instructs the employee to go home, as it appears that they have the symptoms, are then continuing to pay them?
  • Does the company consider ‘self-isolation’ as sickness absence in the same way as it would a broken arm or tonsillitis? Will this unique absence be recorded on an employee’s record and lead to formal disciplinary measures?
  • Are employees expected to provide a FIT note, when the Government advice is to stay away from GPs unless it is critical?
  • What is the view on working from home?
  • Is the Time Off for Dependants policy still unpaid if the reason is virus related?
  • What if a school is closed as a result of the outbreak and childcare is an issue? Is this taken as annual leave?
  • What is the message for meetings with suppliers and customers?
  • If the office needs to close, are employees still being paid?

To give clarity, an employer can develop a temporary policy to cover these types of questions. At the very least a document will ensure that managers have a consistent message to share with employees. Contact Coppice HR (07814 008478 or paul@coppicehr.com) if you need further help or even a bespoke policy that will allow you to focus on the other unprecedented business issues that we are currently facing and reduce the ‘fear and doubt’.

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