COVID-19 Coronavirus and the Workplace

The government guidance is regularly updated with developments on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and in response to the current Coronavirus situation, we would like you to know that we are here to provide continued support throughout these uncertain times and that it is business as usual!

When handling Coronavirus, the duty of care to employees is of high importance, with particular care for employees with underlying medical conditions. Appointments Personnel would like to reassure our staff, clients and candidates that we are following all guidance and advice issued by HM Government and Public Health England and are continuing to provide you with a high standard or service whilst ensuring all members of the Appointments team are safe.

At this moment in time, the common symptoms are

  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Fever, cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties

The current guidance is to:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Statutory Sick Pay:

Employees are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they meet all the qualifying criteria for it. SSP also applies to agency workers engaged on a contract for services because they’re treated as employees for SSP purposes.

The government has issued specific Coronavirus regulations which put measures in place to protect public health, where a person can be directed to self-isolate because they could be infected or have had exposure to someone else who was infected by Coronavirus. If these conditions apply, a person will be treated as if they are unable to work due to sickness and therefore be eligible to receive SSP.

The Budget Report states the following:

The Prime Minister has already announced that the forthcoming COVID-19 Bill will temporarily allow SSP to be paid from the first day of sickness absence, rather than the fourth day, for people who have COVID-19 or have to self‑isolate, in accordance with government guidelines. The Budget sets out a further package to widen the scope of SSP and make it more accessible.

Employers and Employees:

ACAS has released guidance for employers – ACAS Coronavirus: advice for employers and employees that you can refer to.

It is important to have specific policies in place to manage the Coronavirus risks in the workplace and this should be shared with all employers and agency workers. The information available is likely to depend on the nature of the business.

The health and safety of all of our agency workers is highly important to us and we advise and encourage all workers to inform ourselves if you have had to seek medical advice, have symptoms or may have been exposed to COVID-19 in which they have been told to self-isolate. We will be sure to keep regular contact with all clients and candidates in the case of any of the above circumstances.

The government has significantly changed its health guidance for people with even mild symptoms of Coronavirus:

  • If you have symptoms of Coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, do not leave your home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
  • You do not need to call NHS 111/ NHS24 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online/ NHS24.

Public Health England, NHS Service Scotland and Public Health Wales have all issued guidance effective from 12 March 2020 to reflect this updated policy.

For further information, click here to take a look at the website for more information and guidance.

To access the NHS guidance on symptoms and for more information about the virus itself, you can view that here.

(REC Coronavirus COVID-19 Guidance for REC Members)