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Living with Covid in the workplace 

As we come to the end of the final domestic Covid-19 restrictions, employers will of course be wondering how to manage and live with Covid in the workplace. Self-isolation is no longer a legal requirement, workers are no longer required to tell employers of their need to self-isolate and support payments for those isolating with Covid-19 have come to an end. 

This may cause concerns for those who are vulnerable or more wary of returning to the workplace and will make it much more challenging for an employer to manage a positive case. Coupled with there being little guidance for employers in how to handle this going forward and with free testing being removed as of 1st April 2022, the likelihood is that many employees may not get tested, and this could make reassuring employees difficult. 

All industries will differ in how they can support employees in returning to the workplace and it is important to make sure we keep an open dialogue with those who are less inclined to return, especially for those who are vulnerable or live with vulnerable individuals. All employers should be taking a fair and reasonable approach to managing the return of employees and reasonable adaptions should be taken to support these employees where it is commercially viable to do so. We would recommend documenting any reasonable adjustments that were made including their temporary status. 

There may be occasions where a role needs to be conducted from the office and the employee refuses to come into work. In these circumstances termination of employment may be an option, however, there may be discrimination risks with this approach, therefore each case must be reviewed individually, and all options considered. 

A Covid Risk Assessment will be important for employers to make sure you can identify any specific risks of infection or transmission and review how these can be managed. You can still encourage the use of masks, hand sanitiser and social distancing however these can no longer be legally enforced within the workplace. 

Employers will also need to consider that the special rules regarding SSP relating to Covid will be ending on 24th March 2022, therefore from this point all absences will be subject to an initial period of 3 waiting days before the employee is entitled to receive SSP. 

If you would like to discuss anything related to dealing with Covid within the workplace or any other employment issues, please contact our HR Support Team on 01302 341 344. 

By Rachel Storey Dip CIIRisk Consultant





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