What are the rights of employees and responsibilities of employers if forced to close?
Across the world we are seeing countries forcing bars to close to help lessen the spread of coronavirus. Whilst the UK is seemingly ignoring what everyone else sees as common sense there is a very real chance that the same will happen here.
What about pay?
This is currently the situation on this. There could be alternative rules introduced but the general feeling is that these laws will stand and businesses will be financially helped by the government if/when this happens.
If you are advised to close your venue, a lay-off or short-time working situation will ensue, this WILL NOT classify as self-isolation.
Time to check contracts. Some (not many) contracts have a clause allowing staff lay offs without pay. Unless this is in the contract full pay will be required in the event of a workplace closure.
There is an option to exercise the right for forced holiday during this period to minimise the cost implication. For this notice is required that is at least twice as long as the amount of time you request that is taken as leave. Therefore, if annual leave was enforced for 1 week then at least 2 weeks’ notice is required (unless otherwise stated in the employment contract).
The best advice is to be transparent with staff/employers and work with them during what is going to be a difficult period for everyone. When this is all over the staff are going to be key in bouncing back so openness and honesty on all fronts is key right now.
There is financial help available for businesses affected in the form of £3,000 from the government for small businesses. However, it is not yet clear how to apply for this, we will keep you updated as we hear.
This story is correct as of March 16th.
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