Regional law firm urges safety first in coronavirus action plans

Kate Brooks - Ellis Jones Solicitors
Kate Brooks - Ellis Jones Solicitors

Ellis Jones urges safety first in coronavirus action plans Lawyers have urged firms to put 'safety first' for workers with tailored plans to deal with the rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic.

Regional law firm Ellis Jones Solicitors says that guidance is changing on a near-daily basis as the Government and Public Health England battle the outbreak.
Its call comes as new measures are announced to support businesses and as many firms face HR issues related to the crisis.

The law firm, with six offices across the south coast in Bournemouth, Canford Cliffs (Poole), Christchurch, Ringwood, Swanage and Wimborne as well as London, has been providing regular updates on its website blog about potential issues.

Partner Kate Brooks, who is head of employment/HR services, said: "Many businesses may feel caught in a whirlwind right now.

"Most are having to implement radical changes to working patterns and their workforce while navigating sometimes complex employment law, and contracts.

"At the same time, guidance and support from the Government and Public Health England is being updated on a near daily basis.

"One overarching principle to bear in mind is that an employer has a duty to keep all employees safe, and an employee should take responsibility to ensure they are not putting others at risk, and following government guidance."

Kate added: "There are various different scenarios to consider depending on the circumstances.

"This may include reviewing contracts, consulting with staff, reduced hours, lay-off, short time working, homeworking, worker illness, self-isolation, sick pay, unpaid leave, forced or agreed holiday, redundancy and workplace closure.

"As well as advising clients and fielding enquiries, we have been providing advice on our website.

"We recommend all employers come up with a tailored plan which is likely to involve taking legal advice or HR guidance to ensure they are prepared as best they can be. We are very much open for business and hear to help in these difficult times"

Ellis Jones, with more than 160 staff and 17 partners, is taking measures to protect the health and safety of its own staff and clients.

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