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Coronavirus

The Prime Minister announced yesterday that plan B restrictions are to be lifted in England. From today, the government is no longer requiring people to work from home if they can. Employers should start speaking to their staff about arrangements for returning to workplaces, whilst continuing to follow the Working Safely guidance.

The government is reintroducing the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS).  This will be a temporary scheme to support employers facing heightened levels of sickness absence due to COVID-19 and will refund SME employers’ COVID-related SSP costs for up to two weeks per employee.  SMEs are defined here as firms with fewer than 250 employees.

The government has asked that we highlight the new, temporary, self-certification period for sickness, increased from seven to 28 days.  Employers cannot ask employees for proof of sickness until they have been off for 28 days or more, effective from December 10th 2021.  The 28-day rule expires on January 26th 2022, when the period reverts back to seven days.

On Sunday 12th December 2021, the UK Government confirmed that, with effect from Tuesday 14th December 2021, fully vaccinated people in England who are close contact of COVID-19 cases will be told to take daily lateral flow tests for seven days rather than self-isolate. This is in addition to the other measures announced by the Prime Minister on th December 2021.

The government has changed its guidance to businesses in England related to coronavirus, following a surge in cases with the Omicron variant.

The main recent change to requirements is that “contacts of individuals with a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant, must self-isolate, regardless of their age or vaccination status”. 

With winter weather making workers reluctant to keep windows and doors open, it is even more important to ensure your workplace is adequately ventilated. Good ventilation helps reduce the risk from aerosol transmission and prevents the spread of COVID-19.

Travel

The Government is also bringing in measures to prevent new cases from abroad.

Business psychologist, Alan Bradshaw, looks at what managers need to know and do to manage risks to mental wellbeing in a post-Covid workplace.

About this event

The Winter Plan was released yesterday, with Plan B outlining that the NHS Covid Pass would only recognise double jab only. There were no clear metrics as to when the Britain would switch from Plan A to Plan B, nor absolute clarity on which setting ‘Business Events – Trade and Consumer Shows’ sit (we have already queried this).

People who are double jabbed or aged under 18 are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.  They are now advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible, whilst maintaining caution, and self-isolate if the test result is positive.

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