Boris Johnson's address to the country last night has resulted in more questions than answers and the lack of clarity mainly arises from his urge to employers to encourage staff to get back to work today. It now turns out that he meant for this kickstart to commence on Wednesday which has just added to the confusion. Things are in such a muddle that Mr Johnson is now holding a news conference at 7pm this evening to try and explain a few things.
In the meantime, the PM has stated in his Commons address that the much needed guidance for employers providing health and safety information (in the Government's "COVID-19 Secure" document) will not be published until tonight. As such, companies will have to wait for clarity on what measures they should be taking.
With a stalling economy and the generous but expensive furlough scheme appearing to be set for extension until September, the sooner workforces return, the better. However, with the PM urging the public to get to work but avoid public transport, employers are going to be faced with numerous challenges and queries. What happens if an employee cannot work from home but refuses to take the risk of journeying in on public transport? Can they remain furloughed if there is work for them to do? Are they entitled to be paid? Is it a disciplinary matter?
These questions and more are surfacing rapidly and opinion amongst experts is somewhat split. However, Kemp Little will be hosting another webinar in its People Pandemic series this Thursday which will provide answers to these burning issues and a round-up of the government guidance (if it has been issued!) Click here to register for People and Pandemic: Returning to the Workplace, the New Normal.
The government has started easing lockdown restrictions, with more people now encouraged to start returning to work.