What is coronavirus?
First reported on 31st December 2019, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has not been identified in humans before. The virus causes symptoms including a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath.
Because it's is a new disease, scientists are yet to determine the exact symptoms. According to the NHS, if you experience flu-related symptoms you may need to self-isolate.
How do we stop coronavirus?
Coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets and survives on surfaces for 7-14 days. Lots of people worry about catching the virus when they’re out and about. If possible, try to avoid crowded places such as public transport or your workplace. The workplace is a confined space, where illnesses can easily spread.
UK government is trying to contain the spread of the virus by isolating those infected.
How can I protect against coronavirus?
The best way to protect yourself is to keep updated and follow the NHS guidelines. The NHS recommends you take the following measures to protect yourself and others:
- Wash your hands with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitiser when you cannot wash your hands
- Cough or sneeze into your arm/sleeve and away from other people
- Avoid touching your face
- Be at least two metres away from other people
- Put any used tissues in the bin immediately
- Cancel any non-essential travel
- Consider using a face mask
- Avoid shaking hands and, if you do, be sure to clean them afterwards
What if someone I know is diagnosed with coronavirus?
If you have contact with someone with coronavirus, you should take precautionary measures. You should only isolate yourself if told to do so by the 111 online coronavirus service.
As an employer, it would be advisable to clean the workstation. You should also track other employees for any symptoms as a precaution. Public Health England (PHE) carry out a risk assessment and let you know any precautions you may need to take. It’s unlikely you’ll need to close the business, but you may find the PHE recommends that you deep clean your office.
What are my Sick Pay entitlements?
- If you think you may have the coronavirus, contact the NHS 111 service. The service may advise self-isolation, which means you are entitled to statutory sick pay.
- If you’re unable to work and need to self-isolate, you’re entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as long as you earn at least £118 a week before tax. Temporary legislation enables employees to receive compensation from their first day off, rather than day four.
- If you are not sick but are not required in work, you should get your usual salary.
People who have 0-hour contracts or casual staff are likely entitled to the £94.25 weekly payment. Anyone who is not entitled to sick pay should contact their local job centre. They may be able to claim universal credit or other allowances.
What does the coronavirus mean for our jobs?
It’s estimated that one-fifth of the workforce will be absent during the worst weeks of the outbreak. Businesses could be at risk. The disruption of the working week is so unsure. There are so many questions, no one knows the answer.
Putting a large population in lock-down makes them unable to spend. In previous recessions, millions were made redundant. Spending came to a sudden stop and companies went bust as a result. What we do know is that there is going to be a big financial strain for everyone.
How do I work from home?
Google was the first to tell its employees to work from home. Many more employers have done the same thing in the previous weeks. It’s all part of a strategy to slow the spread of the virus. Obviously, this only works for certain jobs. Luckily, with technology and tools, working from home is a workable response.
Employers should ensure staff have the facilities and tools to be able to work from home e.g. laptops, mobile phones, meeting software. Check out our blog on How to Work from Home for some tips.
Can I still get a job?
There have been disruptions with travel, sporting events and school. Although this huge pandemic is happening, life goes on.
Our clients are still looking to hire. Although the process is slightly different. Instead of face-to-face interviews, our candidates interview over the phone or via video calls. Check out our blog on How to Get a Job for some help and advice.