COVID employment law changes - what you need to know
From today (24th March 2022)
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will no longer be payable from the first day of absence if an employee is unable to work because they are sick with COVID-19. People with COVID may still be eligible for SSP, subject to the normal conditions of entitlement – however, pre-pandemic SSP rules will apply, including the four-day waiting rule.
From 1st April 2022
The end of free testing.
The public will no longer be able to access free symptomatic and asymptomatic testing. The government will stop providing free PCR and LFD tests to all but a small number of at-risk groups and social care staff. Individuals or employers will need to pay for private tests if they wish to continue testing.
The requirement for every employer to consider COVID-19 in their health and safety risk assessment will be removed. Instead, employers will be expected to take responsibility for implementing health and safety measures that are appropriate for their circumstances.
‘Working Safely’ guidance to be replaced.
The current ‘Working Safely’ guidance will be replaced with new public health guidance, which will likely advise employers to consider the needs of employees at greatest risk from COVID. The government intends to consult with employers and businesses to ensure that guidance remains relevant.
How will these changes impact employers?
There will be a greater risk that employees with COVID-19 will attend the workplace, which would place vulnerable employees at risk. Employers will need to maintain a duty of reasonable care for the health and safety of their employees, as well as provide a safe place of work. Therefore, employers will need to consider the risk posed by COVID (and other infectious diseases) to vulnerable staff members and take appropriate measures to mitigate that risk.
Employers should consider requiring staff who have tested positive to not attend the workplace. If anyone with COVID is unable to work from home and is otherwise fit to work but is required by their employer not to attend work, they would be entitled to full pay.
If employers decide to require staff to come into the workplace if they have tested positive, then this should be clearly communicated.
Need some living with COVID legal advice? We are here to help
Whatever 2022 has in store for your business, you can feel rest assured that the specialist employment lawyers here at Rowberrys can help. They work closely with employees and employers/business owners all over the UK, advising on all aspects of employment law – including new regulations created in response to the changing COVID-19 situation.
To get in contact directly with our employment solicitors about any legal matter you may have questions on, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team today by calling 01344959166.