Coronavirus Top Tips For HR – from Freeths

Coronavirus: Top tips for HR

Coronavirus has presented all of us with an unprecedented set of circumstances. Most of us will never have experienced anything like this before. Employers and employees are having to change how they work, businesses will experience high levels of sickness absence, and the lock-down is having a significant impact on the economy.

In this brief note we set out some top tips for HR on how to get through this crisis.

1. Stay informed
The situation is changing on an almost hourly basis. It is important to keep up to date with Government guidance. As a result of the crisis the Government are also introducing new laws. The Government’s guidance should inform the decision that employers make.

The Government’s latest guidance can be found here LINK

ACAS are producing Guidance and updates, which can be found here: LINK

Freeths LLP solicitors also have a coronavirus hub, with useful legal updates including a regularly updated Q&A for employers. LINK


2. Have a plan
Work with the business to formulate a plan as to how best to deal with coronavirus. How will the business operate if it has to send employees home? Can its systems handle everyone working from home? Do its current HR procedures and policies work? An employer who gets ahead of the crisis will be in a much better position to manage its way through it.

3. Be flexible
The Government is asking businesses to be flexible in the current circumstances. For example, in view of Government guidance it may not be possible for employees to comply with the usual absence reporting procedures. As such it may be that the business should relax its normal absence reporting rules. Flexibility will also help the business work through the crisis and avoid, for example, the need to make redundancies.

4. Communicate with employees
As well as worries about coronavirus itself, many employees will be concerned about their jobs. Many employees will also be engaging in new working practices such as working from home for the first time. You should ensure that someone in the business is regularly keeping employees updated on Government guidance and how the business plans to handle the current crisis.

5. Don’t forget business as usual
HR will be tied up with coronavirus related issues at the moment, which is understandable. However, it is important to not forget the businesses existing obligations. Are those on long term sick being managed? Are disciplinary and grievances being properly managed? Are there any DSARs to respond to? Some of these things may need to be put to one side but, if so, it is important that it is done in the right way.

If your business requires any employment law advice or support in relation to the coronavirus Michael McNally of Freeths LLP can help. Michael can be contacted on 07723305931 or