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No doubt by now the dust is beginning to settle on the news of a further national lockdown, and businesses across the UK will have taken steps to increase remote working and further tighten health and safety measures.
The latest lockdown has forced some businesses to shutdown entirely, particularly those in the leisure and hospitality sectors, non-essential retail, and education providers. Elsewhere, people are being instructed to stay at home, working remotely if and where possible, and those who are vulnerable now being required to begin shielding once again. Perhaps surprisingly, not all industries are being forced to close; the Government has confirmed that manufacturing, construction, essential public services, and the housing market can continue to operate and remain open.
How do the latest lockdown rules affect employers though? In many ways the new rules are not dissimilar to those from March 2020, and for many the options when dealing with employees remain the same:
From experience of the last two lockdowns, issues are likely to arise around:
Employers should remain aware that despite these strange times, and significant changes at short notice, that it does not displace other requirements and rights granted under the existing employment law in the UK, and they should remain aware and alert to them.
In dealing with all such issues, we would always advise that at this difficult time employers approach matters cautiously. Employers should ensure that all decisions are considered carefully and based on the information before the employer at that time. As is often the case, the key to successfully avoiding (or at least mitigating) and resolving issues is likely to be via the use of clear, consistent and continued communication.
If you would like to discuss any concerns regarding the employment law implications of the Coronavirus, the National Lockdown in England and Wales, or generally, please speak to Jason Alcock, an experienced employment law solicitor in our dispute resolution team, on 01543 267 196 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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