The government has just issued new sector specific guidance for employers setting out the steps they recommend they take to keep their employees safe and mitigate the risks from COVID19. The eight sector specific guidance notes can be found here.
Whilst the guidance still encourages all employees to work from home if they can, it sets out the way employees can begin to return to work. One of the key points is that employers are required to carry out specific COVID19 risk assessments to establish the measures each workplace will need to take to meet H&S requirements. The guidance envisages that the risk assessments would be completed in consultation with an employer's workers and unions, with the government expecting the final assessment to be published online if your business has more than 50 employees.
It’s clear this guidance is seeking to address some of the criticism the government have recently faced around protecting employees who are returning to work and address union concerns, as well as providing a mechanism of public scrutiny as to companies’ heath and safety efforts via the publishing expectation. It's a good starting point for employers who are starting to consider what a post-lockdown working environment might look like.
We've set out some further thoughts on what employers thinking about the "new normal" should be considering in our short guide.