10 March 2020
Following our blog on 3 March, there are now 23 cases of Coronavirus in Scotland and a total of 319 cases across the UK. Five people have now died from coronavirus in the UK.
On 9 March, the UK Government’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty advised that within 10-14 days, it is likely that the UK will move to a situation where “everybody who has even minor respiratory tract infections or a fever should be self-isolating for seven days afterwards”.
If this is implemented, and staff are told to self-isolate for 7 days by a GP or NHS 111, they are likely to be entitled to statutory sick pay from day 1 (on this topic see our earlier blog on 3 March) but the Government has not yet elaborated on this point.
Employers who have not already done so must consider whether remote or home working is an option. Arrangements should be made for remote working where possible so that business as usual can continue during self-isolation and employees can be paid their normal salary if they are able to work.
The Scottish Government also issued Workplace Guidance on 9 March aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus in Scotland’s workplaces and the main points for employers to note are:
- Routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces such as telephones, keyboards, door handles, desks and tables should be undertaken;
- Basic hand washing is most effective way of preventing the spread of infection and should be promoted by ensuring all staff, contractors, service users and visitors have access to hand washing facilities and alcohol-based hand rub, where available;
- Crockery and cutlery in shared kitchen areas should be cleaned with warm water and detergent and dried thoroughly;
- Food such as crisps and sandwiches should not be left open for communal sharing unless individually wrapped.
It is important that employers continue to minimise the impact of Coronavirus on the health and safety of their employees and the subsequent effect on business.
Our Specialist Employment Team will continue to keep employers up-to-date as guidance develops and are happy to assist with any queries.
Contact: Caroline Carr Partner email@example.com T: 0141 221 8012