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As the Government has now confirmed that there will be no change to the proposed rules to allow more households to mix over the Christmas period, whilst simultaneously seeming to confirm that there is a significant risk in doing so, what does that mean for employers who see themselves faced with high levels of employee absence due to requirements to isolate following the Christmas period?
Sadly for employers, the reality is that there is not likely to be much that can be done in these circumstances. Where employees can work from home, it may be sensible to increase levels of home working for a brief period after Christmas, to minimise the risk of further spreading of the virus in the workplace, but for those who cannot work from home the Christmas period may invariably lead to higher levels of absence in the New Year. Employers may wish to consider now how they might be able to manage this in advance, and to ensure that their policies and procedures for a covid-secure workplace are robust and remain fit for purpose.
It may also be a good time to remind staff that they should remain alert to the risks and ensure that they do not attend work at any time if they are displaying any symptoms of covid, or have been in contact with someone who has developed covid over the festive period. It may also be sensible to issue a - admittedly not very festive - reminder of the potential consequences if any employee fails to comply with these rules.
It seems it is unfortunately always the HR specialists and Employment Lawyers who issue the warnings during the festive season to 'have fun, but not too much fun' and sadly, this year is no different. Merry Christmas to all and fingers crossed next year we will be back to our normal warnings about drinking too much and making inappropriate jokes.
If anyone requires further advice on this, or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the employment team. Call 0113 2384 041
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