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For businesses

For individuals

Employees return to their pre-furlough contractual hours and pay unless changes have been agreed. 

There are a number of options available to employers who can't bring employees back to work on their pre-Covid contractual terms:

  • Consult with employees to reduce working hours and/or pay on a temporary or permanent basis.
  • Consider statutory layoff or short-time working, if the contract allows for this. If it doesn't you will need to consult with staff and have their agreement to implement this.
  • Ask employees for volunteers to take unpaid leave.
  • Redundancies may have to be considered.

The end of furlough alone won’t be a sufficient reason for a redundancy situation. Employers will still have to meet the usual criteria for a redundancy situation and show that work has, or is expected to cease or diminish. If this is the case then a normal redundancy procedure can commence.

Ensure legal advice is taken before commencing any of these options. 

Clinically extremely vulnerable persons are no longer advised to shield or stay away from the workplace and you can ask that they return to work. However, this needs to be considered on a case by case basis and additional precautions may need to be implemented to support vulnerable employees. Employers should undertake individual risk assessments and put measures in place to minimise risk to vulnerable staff.
If a customer refuses to wear a face covering you can ask if they are exempt, however, you cannot require evidence of this so be cautious if insisting on evidence as this could be viewed as discriminatory. If someone tells you they are exempt from wearing a face covering you should consider reasonable adjustments. If someone is refusing to wear a face covering without reason, you can consider refusing service as long as this is fair and you are sure there is not discrimination.
After the 19 July a business will still be free to set its own safety measures in relation to covid-19 and may choose to maintain the requirement for staff and customers to wear a face mask. If an employee refuses without good reason this may still be refusal of a reasonable request of an employer but the request may be viewed as 'less' reasonable where the wearing of face masks is no longer a legal requirement.
There is no specific legislation which allows an employer to require an employee to undergo medical treatment of any kind, including vaccination. However an employer may be able to establish that the refusal to get a vaccination at the request of the employer is refusal of a reasonable request and consider disciplinary action as a result. However, this stance from employers is likely to only be reasonable in limited circumstances, such as where employers role involves a lot of interaction with vulnerable persons, such as in a health care environment. A requirement to be vaccinated could be discriminatory for religious or medical grounds.
Yes, this could be a reasonable request of an employer and disciplinary action may result if the request is refused. However, as with vaccinations, the employer must show the reasonableness of the request to take a lateral flow test. If employers have made lateral flow testing mandatory they must provide the test to the employee and if an employee is taking the test outside of normal working hours an employer must ensure that employees who receive National Minimum Wage (NMW) are paid for this as if not they could argue that they have not been paid NMW for working time.
Employees who are absent from work due to ill-health can usually self-certify for 7 days. If they're still unwell after 7 days, they must provide their employer a fit note from the doctor in order for them to be eligible for a payment of Statutory Sick Pay. From 17 December until 26 January, the period for self-certification has been extended to 28 days. This means employees who are off sick between these dates, or if a period of absence started before 17 December but is less than 7 days at this date, won't need to provide a sick note to their employer for SSP purposes, until their absence exceeds 28 days.
Potentially. Employers should review the wording of the contract or sick pay policy in relation to certification of absence for the purposes of company sick pay. Many may be in line with the certification requirements for SSP, so will likely be caught by this provision. Employers should take legal advice on the particular wording of their contracts or sick pay policy in this instance.
For any  period of absence commencing after 26 January, the new rules won'tt apply and we'll switch back to the previous rules. However, advice should be taken at the time to ensure no further changes have been made.
No, these rules apply to all sickness absence for whatever reason.
In England, it's advised that employees work from home where they're able to do so. In Wales, this is a legal requirement from 20 December and employees and employers could be fined if an individual works from the office if they're able to work from home.

There have been four changes to SSP:

  1. SSP is now payable from day one of sickness 
  2. The first 14 days of SSP are reclaimable from the government 
  3. Employees who are not sick but who are isolating in line with public health England/Wales advice are entitled to SSP
  4. Employees can provide an isolation note, available from NHS 111 as opposed to a fit note from the doctor.

SSP has been extended to those employees who have been told to self-isolate under the new track and trace system. This is where a person has been notified that they have been in contact with a person with COVID-19 and therefore must self-isolate for 14 days, they will be entitled to be paid SSP.

Employees who are vulnerable but do not have symptoms, and no one who they live with has symptoms, are only advised to isolate. Because they aren’t required to isolate, like those with symptoms or living with someone with symptoms, they are not classed as sick and therefore not entitled to SSP. They can be required to come to work, but a better option would be to furlough this person.

If you're put at risk of redundancy, your employer has to follow a fair redundancy process and consult with you.

This is dependent on the size of your employer and how many employees are at risk of redundancy so you should take specific advice if you’re in this situation. The amount you are paid for redundancy is dependent upon your age, length or service and weekly salary.

If you’ve been advised to self-isolate because you or someone in your household has symptoms, you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). 

You may be entitled to company sick pay depending on your contract of employment. You are also entitled to SSP if you've been told to self isolate under the track and trace scheme. 

Being advised to self-isolate because you're vulnerable is not the same as self-isolating because you have symptoms or because someone in your household does, and you are therefore not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

You should speak to your employer about the option to work from home; if this isn’t possible you can ask your employer to furlough you. If you do not attend work, this must be in agreement with your employer. 

Yes, this could be a reasonable request of an employer and disciplinary action may result if the request is refused. However, as with vaccinations, the employer must show the reasonableness of the request to take a lateral flow test. If employers have made lateral flow testing mandatory they must provide the test to the employee and if an employee is taking the test outside of normal working hours an employer must ensure that employees who receive National Minimum Wage (NMW) are paid for this as if not they could argue that they have not been paid NMW for working time.
Employees who are absent from work due to ill-health can usually self-certify for 7 days. If they're still unwell after 7 days, they must provide their employer a fit note from the doctor in order for them to be eligible for a payment of Statutory Sick Pay. From 17 December until 26 January, the period for self-certification has been extended to 28 days. This means employees who are off sick between these dates, or if a period of absence started before 17 December but is less than 7 days at this date, won't need to provide a sick note to their employer for SSP purposes, until their absence exceeds 28 days.
Potentially. Employers should review the wording of the contract or sick pay policy in relation to certification of absence for the purposes of company sick pay. Many may be in line with the certification requirements for SSP, so will likely be caught by this provision. Employers should take legal advice on the particular wording of their contracts or sick pay policy in this instance.
For any  period of absence commencing after 26 January, the new rules won'tt apply and we'll switch back to the previous rules. However, advice should be taken at the time to ensure no further changes have been made.
No, these rules apply to all sickness absence for whatever reason.
In England, it's advised that employees work from home where they're able to do so. In Wales, this is a legal requirement from 20 December and employees and employers could be fined if an individual works from the office if they're able to work from home.
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