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How much data can I gather?

You also need to consider other aspects of data protection.

Be proportionate – only gather and use Covid-19 data where you need to.

Keep data to a minimum – you shouldn’t gather more data than you need. You need to know someone has Covid-19 but you don’t need to know all their symptoms. Data minimisation also applies to who gets access to the data. It’s unlikely that a spreadsheet, accessible to everyone updating them on the health status of all employees, would be appropriate. Data should be shared on a need to know basis. You need to balance the privacy of individuals against your duty of care to be responsible with regards to the data of your employees, visitors, customers and suppliers.

Keep it up to date – make sure you update data. People’s health status will change and if you keep a record of this, you need to  make sure it is accurate and up to date (although this doesn’t mean you should batter individuals with constant requests for updates on health status. Again, be proportionate).

Identify individuals only when you need to – although you will need to know who has Covid-19, that doesn’t mean you need to tell everyone in the organisation. As soon as you can, you should remove personal data from any information you gather. For example, you might want to update employees on the health status of their fellow employees but you probably don’t need to name individuals and even if you feel it is necessary, you should keep the information you provide to a minimum. Removing personal identifiers in a document is also a good data security technique.

Keep the Covid-19 health data secure – Covid-19 data will be special category data and deemed high risk. This means that if you have a breach of this data you will need to notify it to the ICO. A breach could happen by someone losing a print-out of the names of Covid-19 employees, customers or visitors. It could also happen if you set access rights to lists of Covid-19 sufferers open to more people than need to know the information. The risk of ICO enforcement action increases with the potential harm the disclosure could cause. Although the ICO has indicated that it will be understanding about the impact of Covid-19 on normal operations, this doesn’t mean that they will not prosecute you if the breach is sufficiently serious.

Destroy the data once you don’t need it – Finally, of course, make sure that you delete data at the end of your needs. This might last longer than the pandemic, for example if you have an insurance claim or ongoing litigation. If you do need to keep it, consider whether or not you can delete some of the data to minimise what you hold.

Related FAQs

What suggestions do you have to raise the profile of the MHFA group in an organisation, particularly with agile working?

Details of your MHFAs should be posted somewhere that everyone can access easily – a specific area on an intranet or whatever alternative exists. Regular comms involving the MHFAs, webinar sessions, Q&A sessions and mental wellbeing drop in sessions are all ideas that may work well.

Is there a time limit on making an insurance claim?

All policies will impose a stringent obligation, often with time limits, for you to notify insurers of circumstances that may give rise to a potential claim under the policy and non-compliance may well negate your cover. If therefore you have potential cover under your policy you must make a precautionary notification to Insurers as soon as possible.

VIDEO: Redundancy exercises in the new normal – what should we do differently?

Following our webinars on all aspects of furlough and alternatives to redundancy, it is an unfortunate fact that a number of organisations are likely, sooner or later, to be forced to make some employees redundant.

Our employment experts Jamie Gamble and Roisin Patton take you through the key aspects of conducting cost reduction redundancies, but with a focus on aspects that make this exercise different this time. For instance:

  • How are you going to conduct sensitive meetings remotely?
  • How are you going to ensure that dismissing any furloughed staff will be fair? You may have furloughed at speed, but redundancy selection criteria cannot be defined by such factors.
  • Will you use this time to review your selection criteria if you already have some in place?
  • How will you deal with individuals who are shielding, have child care issues or are pregnant?
  • How do you ensure this is all done sensitively and fairly for those roles that are being made redundant, but also for those who continue to work for you but are still isolated on furlough or working from home?
  • And what are the risks for making redundancies in this “new normal”?

Although you may be perfectly familiar with redundancy exercises these are far from normal times and it is therefore worth pausing to think about the impact that Covid-19 might have and what else you need to think about or plan for.

The webinar was recorded on Thursday 2nd July.

 

What perceived gaps do you see in the Building Safety Act 2022 (especially in terms of pending consultations and secondary instruments)?Comments on the value of the Martlet v Mulalley judgment in fire safety cases/unsafe cladding cases

The Act was obviously subject to much debate and criticism as the Bill passed through Parliament. It is difficult to properly assess any gaps until after the necessary secondary legislation has been published and comes into force (along with the remainder of the Act), but some of the likely issues include:

  • The impact on the insurance market, and the (lack of) availability and increased cost of insurance in light of the provisions of the Act
  • How the introduction of retrospective claims will affect the market, both in relation to how parties might go about trying to prove matters which are 30 years old, but also the lack of certainty for those potentially on the receiving end of these claims which they previously had by virtue of the Limitation Act provisions
  • Whether the definition of higher risk buildings is correct, or will require some refinement.

The Martlet v Mulalley case provides some useful observations and clarifications, for example that designers cannot necessarily rely on a ‘lemming’ defence that they were simply doing what others were doing at the time, that ‘waking watch’ costs are generally recoverable, and commentary on certain specific Building Regulations. The judgment however made clear that much of the case turned on its specific facts, so it is useful from the perspective of providing some insight as to how the Courts will deal with cladding disputes in future, rather than setting significant precedents to be followed.

How much notice do I need to give people to return to work?

There is no minimum period of notice you are required to give employees of their return, but from a good HR practice point of view you should be speaking to your staff and letting them know what the plan is; giving people a reasonable amount of notice of return will allow them to prepare both practically and psychologically.