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“Freedom Day”: Key HR Considerations with planning to return to the workplace

With ‘Freedom Day’ behind us, we’ve seen social distancing restrictions relaxed as well as the removal of the work from home instruction. However, with the Government recommending a gradual return to work, what does this mean for Employers?

Key HR Considerations:

The “Pingdemic”: New research from the CIPD has found that almost six in ten HR professionals have said they have suffered staff shortages in the last month due to employees being told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app. With this in mind, it’s advisable businesses have Policies on isolation, which may take into account the business stance on homeworking. If this is not possible, Employers can look to discuss options available in terms of Statutory Sick Pay vs short notice annual leave to maintain full pay.

Risk Assessments – These are a legal requirement and must be in writing if you employ over 5 people. To carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, you should consider the different ways the virus can spread and put in place measures to reduce the risk of each of these different ways.

Self-isolation Rule Changes – From 16th August, Employees who have been double vaccinated (or are under 18) do not need to self-isolate but will instead need to take a PCR test if contacted by test and trace, and only isolate if they return a positive test.

Masks in the Workplace – The wearing of masks in office environments has been adopted by many organisations, however it is not based on a legal requirement to do so. Therefore, while from 19th July we have not seen any legal change to this, any new approach must be considered in line with your own Risk Assessments and Policies.

Additionally, revised Governmental guidance for various types of workplaces has now been published:

Guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.

Guidance for people who work in settings related to events and visitor attractions.

Guidance for people who work in or run hotels or other guest accommodation

Guidance for people who work in or run offices, factories, plants, warehouses, labs and research facilities and similar indoor environments.

Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes, nightclubs or takeaways.

Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments and for people who provide close contact services, including hairdressers and beauticians.

If you’re business requires HR Support on returning to the workplace, do get in touch with our expert HR team >>

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