Covid-19 – Employment Law Update – 14 May 2020

Employers expected to publish risk assessments on websites

Clients will recall our previously published Employment Law Update recommending a risk assessment of the workplace be conducted as an initial step to ensure the safe return of employees to the workplace. The government’s new “Covid-19 Secure” guidelines are consistent with our advice and risk assessments will be expected. However, the new Covid-19 Secure guidelines go even further and state that employers should share the results of their risk assessments with the public on their websites (provided the employer has more than 50 employees).

Guidance on workers’ entitlement to holiday and holiday pay

The BEIS has published guidance on workers’ entitlement to holiday and holiday pay. The guidance, ‘Holiday entitlement and pay during coronavirus (COVID-19)’, seeks to explain how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the Covid-19 pandemic. It addresses the position both of workers who continue to work and those who have been placed on furlough under the CJRS. We note that the guidance has no legal effect and tribunals will not be required to follow it when deciding working time and holiday pay cases.

ICO Guidance on testing employees for Covid-19

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published guidance for employers carrying out tests to check whether staff have symptoms of COVID-19 or the virus itself when they return to work and how to comply with data protection laws when doing so.

Applications for grants for self-employed individuals now open

Applications for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) have opened earlier than expected. Eligible self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by Coronavirus now able to apply for a SEISS grant.

CIPD welcomes furlough scheme extension

The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) welcomes the October extension of the furlough scheme announced earlier this week. The CIPD says the extension will give businesses the breathing space they need to bring people back from furlough gradually on reduced hours as lockdown measures are unwound.

Survey finds 44% of employees are anxious about returning to work

44% of 1000 employees in a CIPD/YouGov survey agreed they felt anxious about returning to their workplace because of Covid-19 and the CIPD recommends that businesses pass three tests before bringing people back to work.

Furlough fraud

According to media reports hundreds of companies are suspected of fraudulently claiming furlough money from the government while pressuring their employees to continue working as HMRC confirms it has received 795 reports from worried workers about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Should you require any assistance with your employment arrangements during this difficult period, do not hesitate to contact the co-head partners of our employment department. Ewan Keen can be reached at 020 3206 2724 or Tamara Ludlow at 020 3206 2739.