New guidance for employers will allow staff to safely return to work

On Sunday (10 May 2020) the Prime Minister announced new rules allowing people who cannot work from home to start returning to work. The Government has since published new guidelines, called “COVID-19 Secure”, to give people confidence to return to work, as well as provide clear guidance to employers as to what’s needed to ensure the workplace is safe.

The Government has drafted these measures alongside multiple organisations and stakeholders, including unions and industry bodies as well as Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

In summary, there are five key recommendations:

Work from home if you can

Employers should be taking all necessary steps to ensure those currently working from home can continue to do so. Employees who cannot work from home should contact their employer to ask when they will be returning to work.

Carry out a COVID-19 Risk Assessment

These should be in consultation with employees or trade unions to establish what needs to be put in place. Results of risk assessments should be published on your website too.

Continue to observe social distancing

Workers should be spaced two metres apart at all times where possible.

Manage transmission risk

Where the two metre social distancing rule cannot be adhered to, the risk of infection should still be controlled at all times. Suggested work-arounds include implementing one-way systems or staggered start times to limit the number of people in a building at any given time.

Carry out stringent cleaning and hygiene

Workplaces will need to be cleaned more regularly and checked thoroughly, paying particular attention to high-touch areas such as door handles. Employers should also look to provide better handwashing facilities and hand sanitisers.

To read more on the guidance click here.

If you have any questions relating to your employment situation, or you are an employer looking for further advice, contact the Employment team at Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.