I work in construction. Can I still travel to work?
The CLC has also prepared a template letter that firms may adopt and issue to their workforce regarding travel to work. This can be accessed at download document.
The CLC’s current advice to those carrying out works on site is to carry out your own risk assessment on each site and determine whether or not it is safe to continue to work in accordance with the Public Health England instructions and the CLC Site Operating Procedures. If it is not possible to work in accordance with the above they should not work.
The obvious option to reduce the cost of your workforce is redundancy. However, that also reduces the number of employees and therefore your capacity.
Undeniably and understandably BAME staff, as well as those staff who are identified as being at a higher risk, are going to have high levels of stress and anxiety. For some, this may become of such severity that those staff should be considered to be disabled under the Equality Act 2010. The question as to whether someone is disabled is one that should be answered in conjunction with appropriate medical advice. But the question about how to support any staff suffering with stress and anxiety should not be left until that stage. Proactive steps need to be taken and expert advice obtained on what support measures should be put in place. We know that many NHS organisations are already giving the mental wellbeing of their staff the highest priority.
From our perspective, we would ask managers to be mindful that stress and anxiety is likely to feature in how an individual reacts to questions about the level of risk to their health and the impact on their duties. The conversations with some staff may not be easy to have and may be met with challenge.
For those staff who’s stress and anxiety is such that it would qualify as a disability, reasonable adjustments will need to be considered to the processes that you are applying.
An additional point to consider – it might be worth writing to all staff, asking them to come forward if they have any health conditions that they think you ought to be aware of, assuring them that such information is being given in the strictest confidence. You want to make sure that you are taking the appropriate measures to ensure their health and safety.
All employers have a duty to prevent illegal working, and carrying out proper Right to Work checks are a fundamental part of this. In light of Covid-19, the Home Office has brought in some temporary measures for employers to use to carry out the requisite Right to Work checks. Failure to follow these could lead to enforcement action and penalties.
During the Covid 19 crisis lawyers and the courts have had to adapt with hearings being heard remotely and with more electronic communication. It is clear that going forward, some of these changes will become more permanent.
The Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC MP, has spoken last week regarding changes to the justice system following the COVID-19 pandemic and we know that there is a significant backlog of work that needs to be processed.
Firstly, 10 sites have been identified for ‘Nightingale courts’ which will allow for better social distancing. The authorities have suggested that it is a possibility that courts will need to stay open for a longer time or at weekends, to increase the number of cases that can be heard safely on any given day. This will enable more cases to be heard in a day and therefore a swifter outcome for your case. The standard of video technology will also continue to improve, with plans for new technology being rolled out across all courts form July onwards. The enhanced use of technology may result in matters being heard more efficiently, decreasing the time spent during each hearing.
HMCTS is working to expand access to audio and video technology to support more and new types of hearings. There has been an increase in the use of new and varying equipment over the lock-down period. With the appropriate systems in place, many more hearings could take place on platforms such as the Cloud Video Platform (CVP). Throughout July, the CVP will be more readily available to Country courts. There will be further hardware rolled out to improve the quality of video hearings, and there will be more efficient methods used to organise video lists.
The increased use and training of CVP means that witnesses and advocates may not need to attend court and could attend the hearing remotely. This will give you increased flexibility, enabling you to attend from your office or home. The CVP is efficient and simple to use, with no complex functions; making it user-friendly. This should make litigation more time and cost effective (albeit that there will be the cultural challenge of having less contact with your legal team or the court experience).
You should already have a written furlough agreement with your furloughed employees, but if you move them to flexible furlough then you need a new agreement that confirms the new furlough arrangement.
So, you’ll need to speak to your employees and confirm the hours of work with them in writing (or reach a collective agreement with a recognised Trade Union.
As before, an employee does not need to provide a written response. But the agreement needs to be documented in writing.