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Coronavirus - workplace management

Susie MunroEditor's message: Many workplaces have been reopening, with encouragement from the UK Government for employees to return to work as long as the “COVID-19 Secure” guidelines are followed. However, in response to the recent rise in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, the Government is again advising employers that employees should work from home where this is possible.

As public health is a devolved matter, HR in organisations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales should follow the guidance and comply with the restrictions that apply to your location.

While many employers will decide to continue to encourage homeworking, HR needs to plan for a safe return to the workplace, whether employees are being asked to return now or further down the line. The UK Government’s “COVID-19 secure” guidelines set out a process for employers to follow, based around risk assessment, social distancing measures and actions to mitigate the risk of coronavirus transmission.

HR will be required to manage the needs of employees with particular circumstances that make it difficult or impossible for them to return to work, such as health concerns, childcare or transport issues. Applying a blanket approach to all employees will not be appropriate.

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Susie Munro, senior employment law editor

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