Category Archives: Covid-19

Can I require employees to download the NHS Test and Trace app?

In order to require employees to download the NHS Test and Trace app you would need to:

  • Consider whether the request would be a ‘reasonable management request’
  • Formally assess the risk of infection in the workplace
  • Analyse what other measures are in place in the workplace to help reduce the spread of the virus
  • And, consider to what extent the use of the app would safeguard your workforce and your customers

There are also a number of practical considerations

  • What device would the app be installed on? If workers do not have work phones or do not carry their phones with them during work there will be limited benefit
  • How would you as the employer check the app has been installed and is active and running – you cannot force workers to hand over their personal phones
  • What would you do if the worker did not have a device capable of running the app?
  • How could you enforce people carrying their phones at all times whilst out of work?

Finally, you would need to have a full procedure documenting not only your assessment for deciding the app was required and how it is downloaded and used, but also for what happens if an employee receives an alert from the app.

Filled Under: Covid-19 Posted on: 1st June 2021

Can I ask for medical evidence when a worker is off sick or self-isolating?

You cannot legally ask for medical evidence until your employee has been off work for 7 consecutive days. You can ask your staff to confirm that they have been ill and they do this by filling out a form on their return to work. This is called self-certification.

If you have a team member who is off sick for more than 7 days then you can request a ‘fit note’ from them which is supplied by their Doctor (this used to be a sick note). The fit note will confirm whether a person is fit for work or not. If the note states that an employee is fit for work it may also include details of the work they are fit to do, or ways the employer could make adjustments to allow the person to return to work.

If you have team members who are regularly off sick in multiple periods of less than 7 days you may want to meet with them to discover if there is another problem which is causing their absenteeism. 

Filled Under: Covid-19 Posted on: 1st June 2021

Do we have to offer workplace Covid testing?

There is no legal requirement for normal employers to offer workplace Covid testing, however if you do choose to do this there are several options.

Unfortunately the deadline for registering to receive free rapid lateral flow tests has passed (it was 12th April 2021). If you registered before that date you can continue to order free tests until 30th June 2021. If you missed the deadline you can:

Buy your own tests and set up workplace testing – ensuring that you are adhering to all the guidelines set up for the correct implementation of the tests


Pay an approved provider ( to provide tests or run a test site for you

Remember if any of your employees have symptoms of Covid-19 you SHOULD NOT use a rapid lateral flow test. Anyone with symptoms should order a PCR test and stay home.

Filled Under: Covid-19 Posted on: 1st June 2021

How do employers conduct disciplinary and grievance processes during the coronavirus restrictions?

Employment law still applies during the coronavirus pandemic, however employers need to give careful consideration to how to proceed. 

One of the major issues will be around social distancing and the temporary closure of some workplaces. However as an employer you must ensure that procedures are taken forward without unreasonable delay. It could be possible to suspend a procedure, but only if a safe and fair way to move forward cannot be found. 

You should communicate with the employee involved, their representative (if they have one) and any other people involved such as witnesses to decide if a suitable way forward can be found. Failure to find a reasonable way forward can result in an employment tribunal claim. 

If your workplace is open you may be able to conduct a safe socially distanced meeting, perhaps with PPE in place. If this is not possible, you could consider a virtual meeting, but only if this is appropriate to the circumstances. You will need to ascertain if everyone involved has access to the required technology, if anyone has a disability or accessibility issue which would affect their ability to take part, if any evidence can be accessed and viewed clearly by everyone and also if it will be possible for people to fairly assess and question evidence given. If a video meeting does go ahead it could be recorded and everyone will need to know about and give their permission for this to happen. Find out more about recording meetings here.

Filled Under: Covid-19 Posted on: 24th February 2021

One of our workers has been confirmed as having Covid, should we close the workplace?

If one of your workers has tested positive for Covid you do not need to close the workplace, however you should follow some cleaning protocols which may mean that you have to shut temporarily. You should;

– clean and disinfect the worker’s specific area of work 

– clean and disinfect bathrooms and kitchens that the worker may have used 

– clean and disinfect communal areas that the worked may have used 

The person carrying out the cleaning must wear PPE and if the worker has accessed multiple locations then you should consider anti-bacterial fogging. 

Other workers that have been in direct contact with the infected worker should be asked to self isolate. 

The government provides extensive advice for what to do if someone at work has a positive test.

Filled Under: Covid-19 Posted on: 24th February 2021

Can employers require furloughed employees to use up their holiday leave during furlough?

Holiday entitlement continues to accrue whilst an employee is on furlough and an employee is entitled to take holiday whilst on furlough. The notice requirements in their contract apply in the same way they would if they were working. 

Employers can request that employees take holiday during their furlough just as they can in normal working time if this option is contained in their contract, however the employer should consider whether restrictions (either local, national or personal) would inhibit the employee’s ability to rest and relax, which is the purpose of a holiday. Remember that you must also give your employee notice that you require them to take annual leave and this should be double the length of the holiday required.

Filled Under: Covid-19 Posted on: 24th February 2021

How do I support an employee who is required is self-isolate?

The support you offer an employee will depend on the reason for their self-isolation. If your employee has Covid-19 then they are entitled to be off work and will receive any sick pay due to them from day one as per the government’s advice, instead of from day four. You cannot ask them to work whilst they are off sick.

If your employee is self-isolating because they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive or because they are returning from abroad then the situation is slightly different. Your employee may be able to work from their home, in which case you should support them in setting up a suitable work space and ensuring they have all that they need to work effectively. If this is not possible then your employee may be able to claim statutory sick pay or you may be able to furlough them. Your employee could also choose to request some of their annual leave or request unpaid leave. 

In terms of support, try to stay in touch with employees who are self-isolating. If your employee is very sick this may not be possible, but perhaps you can touch base with family members so they are assured of your support. Try not to add requests, questions or stress to employees who are self isolating.

Filled Under: Covid-19 Posted on: 24th February 2021

How can I support staff who are anxious about returning to work after furlough?

Before your staff return to work you will need to have carried out a Risk Assessment, analysing the possible hazards caused by Covid-19, assessing existing control measures and identifying any additional control measures required. You will also have implemented any new control measures. 

The next step is to ensure that this information is communicated clearly to all team members so that they are aware that you know the risks and have taken steps to minimise them. You should also have a clear way in which team members can confidentially communicate any worries to you. Ensure that you take these concerns seriously and address them. Finally make it clear to staff the consequences of not adhering to new safety measures, so that everyone can be sure that as a company you are taking the risk seriously. 

Put into place an ongoing program of Covid-19 communication for employees, so that problems don’t occur moving forward.

Filled Under: Covid-19 Posted on: 24th February 2021


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