A leading employment law advice specialist is urging employers to take steps to minimise staffing issues related to the increased coronavirus threat in Northern Ireland.

Employers are already feeling the impact on international business travel and staff absence, following Northern Ireland’s first diagnosis of a case of Covid-19 in a person who entered the island from Italy via Dublin airport.

HR Team Director, Breda Cullen, says her employment law advice firm has experienced a surge in the number of employers seeking advice on the matter.

She said: “The coronavirus outbreak has sparked a wave of concern around what rights employees have regarding sick leave and how employers should handle a situation should a staff member become infected.

“The reality is that if the virus spreads in Ireland, it could pose a significant threat to operations within organisations.

“Employers have been contacting us in increasing numbers in recent days to seek advice on how to best manage the situation to ensure their organisations and their people are safeguarded.

“It is important at this time that employers have a robust contingency plan in place – one that is in line with employment legislation and is communicated clearly to all employees.

“As a first step, it’s advised that the legality of all precautions and policies put in place by employers is revised to ensure they are protected.

“Employers are further advised to consider a number of factors including business travel, the use of annual leave and even the potential closure of the workplace or organisation. It is important that they ensure clarity around how each factor will be managed.”

Factors to be considered include the following: 

  • Policy on absence and payment during absence
  • Business travel
  • The use of annual leave
  • Staff refusing to come to work
  • Employees who have returned from affected areas
  • Potential closure of a business/organisation
  • Hygiene rules in the workplace

Webinar: Employers Guide to Handling Coronavirus

In light of the extensive number of enquiries received by HR Team, is to host a complimentary 30-minute webinar covering fundamental advice on how employers can manage the situation within their organisations.

Ms Cullen explains: “This online advice session is open to any employer, line managers or HR managers in the UK and Ireland, and will offer advice on properly planning for the impact of coronavirus on the workplace. We will explore the factors involved in best managing the situation to minimise risk to organisations in light of this significant risk.”

The webinar will take place on:

Thursday, March 5, 2020

10am – 10.30am

To participate in the webinar, please contact HR Team on hello@hrteamgroup.com