As we begin to come out of this period of COVID-19 lockdown, I've got a few key messages I wanted to share with you as to how we at Peninsula can help as we all begin our phased and managed return to the workplace over the next few weeks and months.
Here at Peninsula we've learnt a huge amount during this time, and I'm pleased to say we've provided service to our clients throughout lockdown as our advisers got to grips with new technologies and working from home.
Demand for advice and guidance has been huge as clients have navigated how to furlough their staff, how to keep employees safe in those essential businesses that carried on working and how to communicate these issues with their employees during a period when sometimes things were changing hour by hour. I've been impressed at how our own people have stepped up to help our clients at this time.
We've begun a slow and phased return to work across the Peninsula Group. Our own Health & Safety team has been leading this and we are making sure we implement every measure necessary to keep our staff secure.
I believe we're in a position of industry leadership where we must demonstrate to our clients that it can be done as safely and effectively as possible. I've had positive feedback from the staff who have already returned; they are really pleased to be back in a more formal working environment with the necessary safety measures in place.
My first key message today is to seek advice from our Health & Safety team on how to ensure your own people are as safe as possible when they return to work and that you are covering off all the necessary measures to help them feel secure and supported.
It's essential you do this as the legislation is complicated and constantly updated and the penalties are severe. The Health & Safety advice line number is 0844 892 2785.
For single service, employment only clients, or customers that don’t subscribe to our Health & Safety service, we can offer a special COVID Safecheck, back to work package, at a very reasonable price.
Email Steve Galley, Head of Safecheck on Stephen.Galley@peninsula-uk.com for more information on this and get your Peninsula COVID Safe certificate to display in your office or shop premises.
Secondly, this isn't a straightforward process for employers. Many businesses don't want to bring everyone back at the same time and want to manage this properly and in a phased way. Some employers may decide now is the time to have a look at their business model and restructure where appropriate. The changes to the furlough scheme are likely to make it even more complicated.
One useful tool is our furlough navigator to help those Peninsula clients who use BrightHR, which lets you track and manage furlough status. Please do use it and of course don’t hesitate to call our Peninsula Employment Law advice team on 0844 892 2772.
Finally, you may find as you return to work that some employees are struggling with issues such as anxiety and stress after this difficult period of isolation.
If you want to provide them with help in feeling supported during this period of transition and beyond, you may want to consider an EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) scheme, which provides 24-hour support from trained counsellors, completely confidentially.
If you are interested in offering this support to your employees, then our EAP team will be able to help on 0800 783 8403.
I wish you all the best as you return to work and, in the meantime, remember our advisers are here to help you at any time through this.