Coronavirus

Whilst we will update the information as regularly as we possibly can, the most up to date information will be found at www.gov.je.

Wellbeing is important in these uncertain times and Mind Jersey are offering support.

We have prepared some FAQs that may assist, but if you have any further queries please contact us:

FAQs Coronavirus (Covid-19) 

Remember one of the key factors in dealing with difficult situations in the workplace is to keep the lines of communication open, have honest conversations and keep employees informed.

If an employee has to self-isolate do they need to be paid?

          If the employee is effectively signed off sick (and therefore claiming Short Term Incapacity Allowance – STIA) any      payment from the employer is either due to the terms of the employment contract and sick pay, or because the employer chooses to offer some pay. There is no statutory right to receive sick pay from an employer. However employers need to be mindful of employees attending the workplace whilst unwell as they are unable to afford to take time off. Advice from the Government is:

‘You're entitled to claim STIA from the day you self-isolated as follows:

  • 7 days if you have cold or flu-like symptoms;
  • 14 days in relation to the latest government advice on travel; 

You will:    

  • be asked to confirm that you cannot work from home; and
  • that you have flu-like symptoms

You will not need:

  • a GP medical certificate;
  • a letter from Environmental Health asking you to self-isolate;
  • six months' Social Security contributions to receive the full

       six months' Social Security contributions to receive the full standard weekly rate

Can an employer ask an employee to work from home if they are self-isolating? 

     Yes if the ability to work from home is in place then an employer can request an employee who is self-isolating to continue with their work. However STIA cannot be claimed if the employee is working as the employer will be continuing to pay their employee.

What happens if an employee needs to adopt the recommending ‘social distancing’ as per the Government’s guidelines? 

       Follow the same rules in respect of self-isolating and homeworking as per above.

Can an employer reduce their employees’ hours/wages without following any process?

       If an employee is unable to accept a drop in their income their employer may move to consider redundancy instead.  The usual advice in respect of fair processes and consultation would as always be the best practice to adopt. However the exceptional circumstances we are in at the moment may, mean that the Tribunal would take these into consideration if claims are lodged and recognize that employers are facing unprecedented times.

Can employees be made redundant without following the usual process? 

       To do so may result in claims being lodged against the employer, but as per question 4 above consideration may be given. Certainly if employers are looking at collective consultation (for 12 or more employees) they will need to decide how such consultation will take place to avoid bringing a group of employees together.

Can employees be temporarily laid-off without pay? 

        If there is a clause in the contracts in respect of temporary lay-offs then this should be followed. For those employers who do not have such a clause there is a risk that a claim for breach of contract could be lodged by any affected employees.

Can an employer withdraw a job offer after it has been made due to a downturn in business? 

        Yes job offers can be withdrawn or the start date pushed back if the business cannot deal with additional staffing costs.

What happens if the schools are closed?

        There is no statutory right to have paid time off for family leave (however of course many employers do give such a right in the contracts). Some thought could be given to employees working from home, taking annual leave, taking unpaid leave, working flexibly or using shift patterns to enable childcare to be shared. Whether the Government will put in place any additional provisions in respect of this it is too soon to know.

What happens if an employee is unable to return to Jersey from abroad?  

         Again there is not entitlement to be paid under these circumstances (although this applies to non-business travel), but flexibility around using annual leave or taking unpaid leave again should be considered.

Business Continuity

         On www.gov.je – there is a check list for employers to use in respect of businesses developing a continuity plan if one is not yet in place.

17 March 2020

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