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Can we require employees to have their temperatures taken on the way in to work, and is this something we should be doing?

If such testing is regarded as a “reasonably practicable step” which has been identified as an appropriate control following a risk assessment then it is something you can do.

Although you can’t physically force someone to have something intrusive done, this is very likely to be a reasonable management instruction and therefore if someone refuses to have this done as a condition of entry into the work place then disciplinary action may follow.

Where this is something that is required of employees, employers should be letting their staff know that this is one of a number of measures that are being introduced into the workplace for their own safety. If the employer can explain, in advance of the return, why temperature checks need to be taken, what the consequences of the results will be- i.e. will they be sent home if over a certain temperature, whether this data will be stored (and if the sole purpose is to determine whether or not they are fit to attend work on a particular day then why are they being stored), and the fact that temperature checks are a requirement of entry to company premises for everyone, then there shouldn’t be significant resistance to this measure.

Large scale temperature checks have in some businesses become part of the “new normal” working environment.

Related FAQs

What is the penalty for failing to comply with the collective consultation obligations?

Failure to comply with the collective inform and consult obligations could impact on the fairness of any dismissals – see next question. In addition, a Tribunal can award a protective award of up to 90 days gross pay for each affected employee. The purpose is intended punish the employer for not complying with the obligations, not to compensate the employee for their individual financial loss.

Can furloughed workers still continue with union or non-union representation duties?

Yes, they can continue to undertake duties or activities for representative purposes. This includes individual or collective representation of their colleagues. They must not carry out any actual work or generate revenue for their employer or a linked or associated organisation.

What should I do about non-urgent repairs?

As discussed above, Covid-19 will inevitably deplete the workforce of housing providers in the foreseeable future. It would be prudent to consider making short-term policy changes to deal with this situation and manage the expectations of tenants going forward. A key policy change to consider is the extension of the standard lead-time for completing all non-urgent repairs and inform tenants of this change.

Such a change will also reduce pressure on landlords and front-facing staff.

As above, employers must protect the interests of their staff, particularly regarding health and safety. Extra care should be exercised when assessing the level of emergency of a repair on a case by case basis. All efforts should be made to reduce the number of attendances at properties by repair staff, whilst keeping all tenants safe.

As ever, communication is key – the pandemic cannot be used as a blanket excuse for abstaining from all duties and obligations. Housing providers must take a pragmatic approach in safeguarding customers whilst considering the interests of is workers. Maintaining lines of communication with all parties remains paramount.

What funding is the Government providing specifically for charities?

The Government has announced a £750 million funding package for charities to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak.  This is for a 3 month period and further specific funding may be made available.

Charities which are businesses can also access the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) – Please see our Funding and Finance FAQ’s.

How do I make a Will while I am self-isolating?

Your lawyers can take your instructions by telephone, Skype, Zoom or a similar tool. However, the formal requirement to make a valid Will requires two witnesses to be present with you when you sign the Will and they must then add their signatures. The witnesses or their spouse cannot be beneficiaries or they will forfeit their inheritance.

The main challenge is how to have your witnesses with you at a time when we are being advised to socially distance. One option would be for the witnesses to stand outside your window or at a safe distance from you where they have a clear line of sight. The witnesses can watch you sign and then you could post your Will through your letterbox or leave it on a surface for them to pick up so that they can then sign their names too. If the witnesses live together then they do not need to keep two meters apart from each other.

The Wills Act 1837 requires that your witnesses must be physically present when you sign your Will and therefore it is not possible to do this by Skype, Zoom or similar video conferencing means. You may however want to video record the process by which you and your witnesses signed your Will so that you have a record of what was done, particularly if you are worried that someone might challenge the validity of your Will in due course.  You can of course re-execute your Will once social distancing has been relaxed if you are particularly concerned.

Be aware that the virus can remain on documents for more than 24 hours so it would be sensible for everyone to wear disposable gloves and in any event to wash hands thoroughly after handling the Will.

Emergency legislation may be passed regarding the requirement to make a valid Will but you must follow the current rules unless or until new legislation is passed.