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COVID-19: Acas advice for employers and employees

Acas has published advice for employers on dealing with the new coronavirus outbreak, including how to handle employees who have the virus and those who do not want to come into work because they are worried about catching it.

The risk of catching coronavirus (COVID-19) in workplaces is currently low.

It's still good practice to make sure everyone at work follows simple hygiene rules, such as:

  • washing hands thoroughly with hot water and soap
  • using tissues when sneezing or coughing and throwing them away in a bin

In case coronavirus spreads more widely in the UK, employers should consider some simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff.

Employers should:

  • keep everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace
  • make sure everyone's contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date
  • make sure managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace develops the virus
  • make sure there are clean places to wash hands with hot water and soap, and encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly
  • consider if any travel planned to affected areas is essential

The coronavirus outbreak has the potential to disrupt supply chains – mitigate the risks by creating business continuity plans. These plans should pinpoint contingencies in critical areas and include backup plans for transportation, communications, supply, and cash flow. Involve your suppliers and customers in developing these plans. Don’t forget your staff. A backup plan is needed for people too. The plan may include contingencies for more automation, remote-working arrangements, or other flexible human resourcing in response to personnel constraints.

For further guidance on Coronavirus please visit the following websites:​

HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 for further information please visit the GOV.UK website

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