The HR Blog
ACAS Update: Working safely during coronavirus
Please find the latest updates from ACAS on returning to the workplace.
It’s important that employers talk to staff as early as possible about when they can return to the workplace.
Staff should continue to work from home if they can.
Employers should ‘consult’ with staff (ask for and consider their views to try and reach an agreement) about returning to work. This includes:
Employers should also check any agreements they have with a trade union or employee representatives to see if they must formally consult.
Employees and workers should be ready to return to work at short notice, but employers should be flexible where possible.
Employers must make the workplace as safe as possible for staff, customers and anyone else who visits. To do this employers must:
To get advice on working safely during coronavirus from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) you can:
Employers, employees and workers should talk as early as possible about any plans to return to work.
It’s a good idea to talk about:
Wherever possible, employers should speak to staff before making a decision or putting plans in writing. This can help staff understand, and feel included in, decisions.
If there are any proposed changes that affect the written terms of someone’s contract, the employer must consult with the employee, worker or their representative, for example, their trade union representative.
Some people might be anxious about safety and returning to the workplace. Employers should encourage staff to talk to them about any concerns they have, and try to resolve them together.
Some people might feel they do not want to go back to work, or be unable to return yet.
For example, this might be because they’re:
An employer should listen to any concerns staff may have and should take steps to protect everyone.
For example, they could:
If someone still does not want to go back to work, they may be able to arrange with their employer to take the time off as holiday or unpaid leave. The employer does not have to agree to this.
If someone refuses to attend work without a valid reason, it could result in disciplinary action.
Find out more about:
If an employee or worker has an issue about going back to work, they should raise it with their employer or manager. Employers and managers should take any issues raised by staff seriously.