Your 'Plan B' to the new variant

Leicester employer's guide to the implications of Plan B measures.

Beth Bearder from law firm Nelsons

This week, the government announced that “Plan B” measures will be introduced across the UK in a bid to slow down the spread of the Omicron variant.


One of the measures revealed was that employees should be encouraged to work from home, from Monday 13 December onwards, if they are able to do so.


Beth Bearder, senior associate specialising in employment law at Nelsons, said: “Now the government has invoked the ‘Plan B’ measures, all affected businesses will have to revert back to their staff members working from home, if they can do so effectively.


"Fortunately, the majority of organisations and their employees are now well versed in remote working conditions, so adapting to this change will not be as much of a surprise as it was back in 2020.”


Get the paperwork in place

“As was the case when lockdown restrictions were first introduced last year, we recommend

that employers check, review and update their home working policies – or implement a

policy if one doesn’t already exist – in order to ensure employees know what is expected of

them when working from home.


“Many companies will have also made plans for Christmas parties and festive social events.

However, in the light of the Plan B measures, it’s advisable that these do not go ahead. If

workers still want to meet up socially and make their own arrangements, they are still able

to do so as that is their prerogative.”


Be supportive

“Employers should continue to support staff members in accessing Covid-19 vaccines and/or

boosters. This could manifest in several ways such as allowing flexibility on working hours,

to people can travel to appointments, or offering employees paid time off to attend

vaccination timeslots.


“While it’s hoped that the latest restrictions will only be in place for three to six weeks, and

some businesses will be planning to close for Christmas anyway, it’s still advisable for

employers to think about procedures for keeping in touch and how to use technology to

communicate with their members of staff effectively.


While the majority of businesses will already have these processes in place, it may be worth reviewing them to ensure they’re still relevant.


“It’s also crucial to ensure that employees have the required equipment to facilitate effective

home working. This will require consideration of IT provisions as well as HR policies around

working from home.”


“During the press conference, the Prime Minister stated that ‘you should work from home if

you can. Go to work if you must, but work from home if you can.’ This means that employees

who are unable to work from home, can continue to go into the workplace.


“All employers have an obligation to manage Covid-19 risks for employees, customers and

visitors, such as improving ventilation, one-way systems and enhanced cleaning to ensure

those who have to come into the office are as safe as possible during the winter months.”


Click here to find more information about managing your workforce

 

Written by Levitha Biji

Levitha is a broadcast journalism graduate, currently studying MA International Media and Communication Studies at the University of Nottingham. Having lived in three countries and being fluent in three languages, she's passionate about global journalism. She's recently finished an internship with Niche Magazine and also runs her own blog, Levitha Mariam.