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Coronavirus: How Could It Affect Your Business?

Whatever you do, don't panic ...


Posted by Roger Eddowes on 10/02/2020 @ 8:00AM

Currently, the cases of Coronavirus are quite low in the United Kingdom, but there are risks of exposure and you should take measures to ensure the safety of your employees ...

Although the Coronavirus is in the UK, it shouldn't have a great effect on your business if you take appropriate precations!

Although the Coronavirus is in the UK, it shouldn't have a great effect on your business if you take appropriate precations!

copyright: vitanovski / 123rf

You do have a legal duty to protect your workforce so it is worth monitoring the situation and have a solid plan ready in case Coronavirus sweeps the country and puts a lot of people out of action, albeit, temporarily for most.

"How do your working practices put your
employees at risk of exposure?"

Maybe you require them to travel to China on business? Maybe Chinese nationals need to come here? Can their trip be delayed? Maybe a Zoom call is more appropriate at this time? And on a more personal note, has one of your employees returned from holiday in a high-risk area? Or have they been in contact with a family member who recently returned from the far east?

Are any of your employees showing signs of infection right now? Remember, Coronavirus has a 14-day infectious period where no symptoms are showing, so keep your workers informed of the situation at all times.

Unfortunately, there is no legal obligation to impose a precautionary suspension from work for non-symptomatic employees and this may cause HR problems down the line if suspending them disadvantages them in any way. Their colleagues may be pressuring you, but this is no reason for a suspension from work.

You can recommend they go to their GP for advice, but if they are not certified unfit for work, my advice would be to play it safe with a brief period of suspension, but with full pay and no impact on their leave entitlement.

All employees need to be made aware of the World Health Organisation's infection control advice, which includes regularly washing their hands, using hand sanitiser after eating, ensuring they cough and sneeze into a tissue that is immediately thrown away!

Although the Coronavirus hasn't gained a major foothold in the UK, there are few hundred people in isolation and probably more out there who are currently not showing symptoms. Precaution is key, but be fair and reasonable, then the outbreak should have a limited (if any) effect on your business.

Until next time ...

Business Godparent


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About Roger Eddowes ...


Roger trained at Edward Thomas Peirson & Sons in Market Harborough before working at Hartwell & Co, followed by Chancery, as a partner. He started Essendon Accounts and Tax with Helen Beaumont in 2014 as a general practitioner with a hands-on approach.

Roger loves getting his hands dirty, working with emerging, small-to-medium and family businesses to ensure they receive the best possible accountancy advice. Roger utilises an extensive network of business contacts to leverage the best guidance and practical solutions.