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Post-furlough, but not post-COVID

November 10, 2021
Employment Law

Now that the furlough scheme has closed its doors and more people are returning to the workplace, does this mean we can put ‘COVID-19 issues’ behind us?

They think it’s all over…

Many employers have been working hard to devise new practices and procedures aimed at allowing more employees to return to the workplace. Like many other businesses, we at stevensdrake have assessed the risks and rolled out a detailed office working policy designed to ensure that we have a ‘COVID-secure’ working environment in which our team can work safely and effectively. However, just as we have begun to fully implement our new practices and procedures, considerable debate is taking place about whether the government ought to be reintroducing its former ‘work from home’ advice.

Various representative groups, including the British Medical Association (https://www.bma.org.uk/bma-media-centre/incredibly-concerning-that-government-is-not-taking-more-action-to-protect-public-against-covid-warns-bma) and the NHS Confederation (https://www.nhsconfed.org/news/enact-plan-b-plus-avoid-stumbling-winter-crisis), have been very public in outlining their belief that the government needs to take firm action to curb rising infection rates.

Presently, the government appears to be sticking with its ‘Plan A’; this effectively involves reliance on the current vaccination programme, including the rollout of a third ‘booster jab’ for more vulnerable groups. Talk of so-called ‘Plan B’ measures (e.g.working from home, mandatory face masks and the like) has been broadly dismissed. Nevertheless, it feels like we might have been here before. With winter looming and Christmas not too far away, could a further tightening of restrictions become necessary if infection rates continue to rise?

What are your thoughts?

Have you been asking your employees to spend more time in the workplace? How have they responded? How would you feel about the reintroduction of the ‘work from home’ instruction?  As always, we would be interested to hear your thoughts.

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