Is your small business shipshape, post-lockdown? Are your documents all set to sail?

The last few months have involved many new and varied HR issues for employers, as well as a myriad of other considerations.

And in some cases, a difficult situation may have been helped – at least in part – by some improvements in employment contracts, policies and procedures.

One thing many have learned is that these documents need to be on hand, up to date and 100% fit for purpose before they are needed. So, what is on your post-Covid to do list? These are our suggestions:

  1. Contracts of Employment – it goes without saying that all staff should have a contract, but is it working for you where you need it to? Check to see whether your contracts include a “layoff” clause which allows you to temporarily reduce staff’s hours of work and pay or put them on to unpaid leave where there is an urgent business need to do this. Employers who had these layoff clauses were able to utilise this before furlough came into being and in a much stronger position to negotiate staff on to furlough pay.
  2. Company/ Contractual Sick Pay – if you offer more than Statutory Sick Pay, you can apply terms and conditions to when it will be paid. For example, you may say it is not payable if an employee is within a disciplinary process. Under normal circumstances, you might only expect a small proportion of your staff to be claiming CSP from you at any one time, but in the case of a pandemic or widespread health issue CSP could quickly become unaffordable. It is possible to include a term that CSP will not be paid in these circumstances and you may want to consider this.
  3. Pandemic Policy – you may want to have one policy that pulls together information relevant to large scale crisis or pandemic – how will you communicate with staff and they with you, how will you continue operations, what rules will apply to working from home, what rules will apply to sick pay, holiday, etc.
  4. Flexible Working – if you’ve had staff on flexible hours and/or working from home over the last six months you’re likely to face more requests for flexible working going forwards. You need to decide what is practical for your business and how you will approach flexible working in the future.
  5. Working from Home – in the early days of lockdown, we circulated a free form to help employees do a work station assessment from home. If you haven’t already done these and staff are still at home, it would be worth revisiting this now to head off any potential claims of sore wrists or backs from uncomfortable set ups.
  6. Health and safety – we have previously circulated free COVID-Secure risk assessments and all employers are getting used to what a COVID-Secure workplace looks like. Given the current uncertainty as to how long we might be living with Coronavirus, it may be necessary to see these changes as having a degree of permanency.

If you need any help getting your contracts, policies and procedures in to shape then please let us know.