Coronavirus—employer FAQ

Advice on the current COVID-19 situation for employers.

What can I do to reassure my staff?

Right now, your staff are probably feeling anxious. It’s important to acknowledge their worries about the virus, and understand that for the most part, their worries are valid.

Remind them of your commitment to wellbeing, and signpost the official government advice on COVID-19, people’s responsibilities and the recommended courses of action.



What is 'furloughing'?

Furloughing is a mandatory suspension from work 

Furloughed workers are those unable to work due to circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic—as all non-essential businesses are closed, this means a significant proportion of the workforce. These are not staff who have been made redundant. 

For further advice and guidance, see Acas’ comprehensive page on the subject—and our own legal FAQ on the subject, available here.

Should I be sending employees home?

Updated 22nd September:

To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter. Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so. Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary. Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work. The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

What do I do if someone refuses to come into work?

Some people are rightfully concerned about their health. If there’s a heightened risk of catching the virus in your workplace, and you’re considered essential, some employees may refuse to come in. If they do you should listen to their concerns and offer reassurance.

I'm new to managing remote workers. Do you have any advice?

Managing remote workers is an art form, and people have been thrown into it suddenly by current circumstances. We've put together some easy to follow advice here.

How do I reassure my people in this time of change?

Again, this is a new circumstance to most, and many of your employees are likely suffering worry, stress and anxiety. Here is a short piece on managing change as an employer.

What can I do to spot potential mental health issues in my employees?

Right now, stresses are high—the lockdown, and the doom and gloom about coronavirus, mean some people are likely to suffer mental health issues now more than ever. We've put together some brief advice on watching for the tell-tale signs, whether at work or remotely

What are the current restrictions on businesses?

  • Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm (from 24 September).
  • In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table.
  • Customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume indoors, on site (from 24 September).
  • Businesses will need to display the official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ at different premises using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details once the app is rolled out nationally (from 24 September).
  • Businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID Secure (from 28 September):
    • A wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres, and close contact services will be subject to the COVID-19 Secure requirements in law and fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches.
    • Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
    • Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.

These measures apply to England – but there may be different rules if you live in an area under local lockdown: and you should check local lockdown rules. If you are in WalesScotland or Northern Ireland, different rules may apply.

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