Will holiday entitlement continue to accrue for a period of furlough?
The guidance has confirmed that all remaining employment rights and terms continue while an employee is furloughed. Holiday will continue to accrue during furlough however you may reach agreement with employees on reducing entitlement provided that it does not fall below the statutory minimum of 5.6 weeks per year.
It is absolutely critical to creating a safe workplace and to making workers feel secure.
This could include floor markings every 2m (as we’ve seen in grocery stores), stopping or limiting/staggering access to communal or common areas such as toilets and kitchens, rearranging workstations to maintain a 2 metre distance or, where this is not possible (for example in manufacturing facilities or production lines), erecting physical barriers and avoiding face to face working, encouraging the use of stairs and discouraging lift-use, designing a one-way system for entry and exit and looking at aircon/heating systems to see if any modifications are possible to prevent the spread of airborne particles. If you can increase ventilation in your workplace, it will help reduce risk.
The government has published detailed social distancing guidance for workplaces across sectors including manufacturing, retail, offices, construction and transport; it has also promised to continue to add to this.
An employee can refuse to attend work but their refusal to do so will have to be based on a reasonable belief that their health and safety is in danger. Whether or not their refusal is reasonable will take into consideration factors such as the employee’s own health and whether they are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract Covid-19 and the steps their employer has out in place to mitigate the danger of contracting Covid-19 at work.
In such circumstances where the employee’s belief is deemed to be reasonable, they will be entitled to stay at home and receive full pay.
If an employee is subsequently dismissed for refusing to attend work in these circumstances, they may be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.
The CMA is particularly concerned about certain activities, its guidance highlights:
- Exchange of commercially sensitive information where this is not necessary in response to the crisis
- Collaboration which unfairly excludes third parties
- Abuse of a dominant position (including a dominant position held as a result of the crisis) – particularly to charge excessive prices
- Seeking to maintain prices or prevent reductions in prices
- Cooperation going beyond what is necessary to respond to the crisis in the interests of consumers
Local government legislation formerly stipulated that councillors must be physically present to vote and this requirement has already led to the widespread cancellation of Council meetings. There is a limit to what can be achieved under the chair’s emergency powers and delegation to officers.
The Government has now legislated to allow for remote voting until 7 May 2021. The secondary legislation required was issued in draft on 2 April and has been in force since Saturday 4 April.
The legislation allows for committee meetings to go ahead where members and any members of the public attending remotely can all times “hear (and where possible see) and be heard (and where possible be seen) by the other members in attendance”.
It remains to be seen how many local authorities take up the opportunity to hold a virtual committee meeting. Concern has been expressed that the demographic of local councillors may mean that members have difficulty with the technological mechanisms for holding such meetings. However, the message from the Secretary of State is clear that wherever possible, the planning system should keep moving in these current times.
Yes probably in our opinion, even if you are not considering taking any formal action against them. Ultimately if a doctor is suspended this could be considered as causing them reputational damage and it therefore is correct that they are afforded the protections (in particular in relation to keeping exclusion/suspension under review) of MHPS. Under Part V of MHPS there is provision for excluding practitioners if they are a danger to patients and they refuse to recognise it or if they refuse to co-operate. It doesn’t refer to a particular risk for the practitioner themselves, but it would appear logical that it would apply.