Restrictions may have been lifted but Covid levels in the community are still high and this can cause problems for both employer and their employees.
If someone contracts Covid the advice still is to self-isolate for at least five days.
However, this could result in employees losing three days of the statutory sick pay available from the Government, leaving them with just two days sick pay if they abide by the rules. SSP in the UK is just £96.35 per week.
To make matters worse, lateral flow tests are no longer free, so there is also a risk that someone with mild symptoms that are similar to a cold may not test themselves at all, carrying on working and risking spread of the illness to other colleagues.
In a previous post we advised employers to complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes the risk from COVID-19, provide adequate ventilation, clean more often and to ask people with COVID-19 or any of the main COVID-19 symptoms to stay away and enable them to work remotely.
But is there more employers can do to protect their businesses and their workforce in this situation?
Here are a couple of suggestions:
Firstly, employers can protect their workforce and help individuals to isolate if necessary by buying stocks of Lateral Flow Tests and making them available to employees.
Secondly, if they have a workplace sickness scheme, it may be worth introducing sickness pay from day one in the specific case of a Covid infection.
The benefits are obvious albeit you may have to pay a little to reap them.
It will encourage employees to do the right thing while protecting their income.
It will protect the rest of the workforce and ensure minimal disruption to production and at the same time will send out a message to employees that you do value them and care about their welfare.
Given the difficulties businesses are having in recruiting and retaining staff, it will help you to keep loyal employees.