Below we have listed some sources of information for employers amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Temporary changes to Right to Work (RTW) checks during the coronavirus outbreak
Since 30 March 2020, Right to Work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry them out during the coronavirus outbreak. Until further notice, employers do not need to see original documents and can complete Right to Work checks over video calls.
Prospective workers are now able to submit scanned documents, rather than originals, to show they have the right to work. Checks continue to be necessary and it is an offence to knowingly employ or let property to anyone who does not have legal immigration status in the UK.
If prospective or existing employees cannot provide any of the accepted documents, employers should use the Employer Checking Service. Once the temporary changes end, employers will be asked to carry out prescribed checks on existing employees who started work during the pandemic.
Further guidance on what this means for employers can be found on GOV.UK.
Annual leave entitlement 2 year carry forward
Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years under amendments to the Working Time Regulations 1998.
The Working Time Regulations 1998 convey a range of health and safety protections on workers, including daily and weekly rest breaks and paid statutory annual leave. Annual leave is granted by regulations 13 and 13A of the Working Time Regulations 1998, giving 4 weeks and 1.6 weeks of annual leave respectively.
The 4 weeks of annual leave granted by regulation 13 cannot generally be carried between leave years, with exceptions when a worker cannot take annual leave due to sickness or maternity leave. The 1.6 weeks of annual leave granted by regulation 13A can be carried forward one leave year (but no further) through an agreement between workers and their employers.
Employers have an obligation to ensure that their workers have an adequate opportunity to take their holiday. This holiday cannot be replaced with a payment in lieu unless the worker is leaving employment.
The Working Time (coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 amends the Working Time Regulations 1998 to create a further exemption relating specifically to COVID-19. Where it is not reasonably practicable for a worker to take some, or all, of the holiday to which they are entitled due to the coronavirus, they have a right to carry the 4 weeks under regulation 13 into the next 2 leave years. This will not apply to the 1.6 weeks under regulation 13A leave, but this can be carried forward one year by agreement between workers and employers.
All employers are subject to the Working Time Regulations 1998, and thus will be subject to the changes in the Working Time (coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.
Additional resources such as links to webinars or useful blogs are also posted on the Practice Points COVID-19 thread on CA Connect
Guidance to assist employers and businesses in providing advice to staff on the prevention of spread of respiratory infections; what to do if someone with suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting; and advice for the certification of absence from work resulting from COVID-19.
FAQs for employers (Brodies)
A helpful set of FAQ relating to employer obligations
Coronavirus is having an impact on many industries. But what should UK businesses be doing to ensure they comply with health and safety obligations to employees and members of the public? This blog from Brodies includes some helpful and practical actions to take to mitigate these risks.
This factsheet from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development provides an overview of the current coronavirus situation. It explains what the virus is and gives advice on how employers should respond to the threat and support employees by being prepared, looking after employees’ health and safety, precautions for employees returning from travel, and developing flexible resourcing plans.
UK government guidance for people with confirmed or possible COVID-19 infection.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) advice for employers and employees. This advice is being reviewed daily.