Latest Covid employment law updates
Coronavirus: developments in employment law and new guidance
The Government continues to make a number of important changes to employment law and to publish guidance to employers in response to the pandemic and the release of the lockdown:
- From 26 March 2020, workers can carry forward annual leave (of up to four weeks) for two years where it was not ‘reasonably practicable’ to do so during the holiday year due to coronavirus
- From 26 May 2020, SMEs can apply to HMRC to recover coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay through HMRC’s Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme that they paid to employees from 13 March 2020
- July 2020 sees the introduction of ‘flexible furlough leave’ to allow employees to work part-time and to be furloughed part-time. The Chancellor’s announcement on 29 May also outlined how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be wound down, with decreasing contributions from the Government from August until the scheme’s closure on 31 October 2020. See our detailed briefing
- In preparation for more businesses bringing employees back to the workplace, the Government continues to update its guidance on working safely during coronavirus and the Health and Safety Executive has published guidance on consulting with staff and carrying out risk assessments to help businesses be ‘covid-secure’
- Employers carrying out tests of employees to check for symptoms of coronavirus need to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018. The Information Commissioner’s Office has published Workplace testing: guidance for employers to help employers comply
- Finally, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance for employers helps employers stay on the right side of the Equality Act 2010 when making decisions in response to coronavirus, such as whether a shielding, disabled employee should return to the workplace.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.