Covid-19 and your employees: Five tips to Manage the workforce

As the World Health Organisation declares coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic, employers are grappling on how to manage employee relations effectively, while keeping their business running.

Below are top five tips you can do to continue managing your workforce during COVID-19:

1. Stay updated for the health and safety guidelines in the workplace.

Monitor the latest health information being provided by the relevant health departments, provide up-to-date information to your workers and promptly implement any directives.

2. Review HR company policies and procedures.

Check your sick leave, annual leave and flexible work policies. Are they sufficient to cover COVID-19? How will you deal with leave required by sick or quarantined employees? Decide now. See our earlier updates on these issues.

3. Work on business risk assessment.

Continue to assess the hazards and risks relevant to your business and do what is reasonably practicable to eliminate those risks, or where this is not reasonably practicable, to minimise those risks. This includes:

  • providing clear direction and guidance on what’s expected of workers;
  • ensure workers know what action to take if they become unwell;
  • enhancing cleaning practices in and around the office;
  • requiring workers to practice good hygiene; limit contact with others, including through shaking hands and to cover their mouths while coughing or sneezing;
  • requiring workers to stay away from the workplace if they are unwell and not fit for work, and encourage them to seek medical advice as appropriate;
  • seeking advice from health authorities immediately if there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace; and
  • limit third party access to your workplace, unless necessary.

4. Establish legal compliance strategy.

Be careful not to breach any anti-discrimination laws or unfair dismissal laws when making decisions or putting any plans into effect.

5. Consider the Australia coronavirus travel restrictions.

Be clear on your expectations of employees regarding travel. It is reasonable for employers to ask employees to exercise caution when making personal travel plans and to seek medical advice if they feel unwell when returning from travel. You should carefully consider the need for employees to undertake work-related travel, rather than hold meetings via telephone or video conference.

Questions? Give us a call.

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