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Emma O'Connor
Emma O'Connor,
HEAD OF TRAINING
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Coronavirus – Advice and Support for Businesses
25 March 2020

At this difficult and incredibly uncertain time, as employers, our first thoughts must be with the health and wellbeing of ourselves, our families and our people. We are working with our clients to help them at this time, providing advice, support and guidance as we navigate our way through the huge amounts of information and government proposed support. Emma O’Connor, Head of Training, talks about the sorts of issues employers are facing as well as how the Group are helping keep you up to date through our Coronavirus Information Hub.

Be vigilant, prepared and flexible

This is indeed a time of rapid change and unprecedented uncertainty. In the space of just a few days, the way that we work, live, socialise and communicate has become unrecognisable. As a Group we are still working and still here supporting our clients. We are working with clients in the leisure, hospitality and retail sector. We are supporting clients in the technology, services sector and construction sectors too. This pandemic has impacted all businesses, no matter which sector and no matter how big or small. There is confusion but we understand the issues your business is facing.

Many questions we are being asked concern the practicalities of managing remote working as well as the financial implications of having to close a business (at short notice). We are advising on how businesses can take effective preparatory steps as well as having the right policies in place so that businesses can move quickly. We are advising employers on making the right choices at the right time.  

Many of you are asking questions about:

  • holiday and holiday pay – in particular, can we ask employees to take their paid leave now?
  • sickness absence and sick pay – in particular, when are employees entitled to SPP and/or Company sick pay; 
  • what is the new proposed Coronavirus Job Retention scheme – what does “furlough” mean?
  • what about Layoff or Short Time working?
  • how can we manage redundancies – and what are the risks around collective consultation? 
  • can we ask employees to work from home – if so, what practical steps should we be taking?
  • what should employers do if employees have to stay at home to care for their children?  

Our core messages are to be vigilant, prepared and as flexible (as you can be) in these changing situations. Review your contracts of employment and also your workforce, understand the business needs and where the pinch points could be now or over the coming months. Review the proposed government schemes, do these work for your business? What are the benefits and also the risks. This involves both a short term and a long term review.

How can we help – Covid-19 Business Information Hub

We appreciate that this is a difficult time and so to help employers navigate the information maze, we have set up a Covid-19 Business Information Hub – a space on our website where you can find articles, information and podcasts aimed specifically at supporting businesses. We will also be hosting webinars to assist employers and businesses at this time. You can access the information when you need it. Our Hub can be found here.

Training and education

Also, think about training opportunities. With a captured audience at home, think about webinars, podcasts or online training. We can also provide help around managing stress and building resilience.

Coaching and managing remote teams

Helping our people working from home alone or who are struggling with the difficulties of managing this unprecedented situation may benefit from business coaching. The business needs to be ready to go when we get back to business and coaching can help senior executives work out priorities and the way back. Remote coaching helps to clear crowded minds struggling to see the wood for the trees.

We look forward to welcoming you “virtually” to our upcoming web based events.

For help and support for your business at this times, please contact our Employment Group on [email protected] or on 01189527284.

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

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