Recent news coming out of the Department of Health, with a change at the top, seems to indicate a shift in policy as to how we'll deal with the pandemic after July 19th.
A more relaxed approach around things like wearing masks, using QR codes and so on seems to be the order of the day under Sajid Javid.
The philosophy now seems to be that as time progresses, we are going to have to learn to live with COVID and get back to some sort of normal life. As more and more people are vaccinated, more and more people are protected. Hospitalisations are well down despite the virus still spreading and deaths are now low.
This is all really welcome news.
As an employer though, a regime that allows more flexibility and choice can prove more rather than less complicated. Why? Because having set rules about what you can and cannot do, as happened during the height of the pandemic, at least means it's really clear how the land lies.
We are moving into a period as we come out of this difficult time when the goalposts have shifted, and more questions will inevitably arise.
Can I insist my employees are vaccinated? Do they still have to wear masks on the premises? What I want them to wear masks? What if I absolutely don't want them to wear masks? What if I want to continue using the QR system? Can I insist they come back to the office or workplace? What happens if I have vulnerable staff? What happens if I have vulnerable customers? Can people travel abroad for work if they've been double vaccinated? Do I still need the same protections in place for my customers? What about social distancing? Screens? Sanitisers?...
These are just some of the questions that come to mind without even thinking too hard about it. And employers will need to have the answers as the restrictions begin to ease.
As an employer there will be an increasing level of personal and professional responsibility to keep your staff safe without the fallback of things like the furlough scheme. Getting the balance right between driving your business forward after this lean period whilst keeping your staff safe and well will be a hard one to strike.
More than ever, you need to get the right advice. It's really simple to do so and it's really important. At Peninsula, we can hold your hand every single step of the way as we guide you through this transitional phase back to, let's hope, some sort of normality. There are so many minefields for employers at the moment as the restrictions ease both in terms of employment law and health & safety. Peninsula can help with all these questions.
Our VaccTrak tool can enable you to monitor who's been vaccinated as you bring people back to work the workplace.
And many employees are struggling with the idea of getting back to work and being in a group environment again, which our Health Assured team can help with.
There are so many ways we can help and as an employer it has never been more important to check you're adhering to the requirements. It's been a period of massive change and it will be just as challenging in different ways as we move towards a more normal way of operating.
So if you need help on employment law, health & safety, or employee wellbeing, call 0800 028 2420. Our teams of experts will guide you whatever questions you have and make sure you navigate the coming weeks effectively.