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Coronavirus: What Employers Need To Know

Coronavirus

Updated 24/03/2020

COVID-19: Gender Pay Gap Reporting Suspended

The UK Government has suspended the obligation for employers to report their gender pay gap data, citing the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a joint statement, Minister for Women & Equalities, Liz Truss, and Equality and Human Rights Commission chair (EHRC), David Isaac, said:

“We recognise that employers across the country are facing unprecedented uncertainty and pressure at this time. Because of this we feel it is only right to suspend enforcement of gender pay gap reporting this year.”

Employers still wanting to report this data can but there is no longer an expectation to.

For more information please read the full press release.

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Updated 19/03/2020

Ministers announce new £1.4bn business support package

In the midst of all of the uncertainty relating to the Coronavirus pandemic, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans and the Minister for Economy, Ken Skates today announced a new £1.4bn business support package to help businesses across Wales.

This support aims to boost small businesses struggling to cope with the impact of the Coronavirus crisis.
The new package provides retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales with a year long business rates holiday.  A grant of £25,000 will also be offered for businesses in the same sector with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000.

It also provides a £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

Please read the full press release.

For more information about the coronavirus visit Public Health Wales.

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Updated 17/03/2020

The Welsh Government is today announcing a package of support worth more than £200m for small businesses to help them during the coronavirus outbreak.

Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will receive 100% business rate relief and pubs with a rateable value of between £51,000 and £100,000 will receive a £5,000 reduction on their bill.

A further £100m will be available for a new grant scheme for small businesses Further details on this new grant scheme will be confirmed as soon as possible.

Please read the full press release.

For more information about the coronavirus visit Public Health Wales.


Updated 12/03/2020

In yesterday’s budget the Chancellor announced that the government will reimburse small employers (those with less than 250 employees) any statutory sick pay they pay to employees, for the first 14 days of sickness to help insulate businesses against the impact of coronavirus.  The Statutory Sick Pay will be for “all those who are advised to self-isolate” even if they have not displayed symptoms.

Statutory sick pay is currently paid at £94.25 per week.  The Chancellor estimates that will cost up to £2 billion and help up to 2 million businesses.


As an employer, you have a duty of care to protect the health and safety of all your employees.

The UK Secretary of State has declared that the incidence or transmission of Coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health. The Government has advised for individuals who have recently travelled from Coronavirus affected areas to remain in self- quarantine for 14 days.

How can we reduce the risk to our employees?

The risk level is currently identified as moderate. Employers should encourage employees to be extra-vigilant with washing their hands, using and disposing of tissues etc. If you have the capacity to do so, it may be worth designating an ‘isolation room’ where an employee who feels ill can go and sit away from the rest of the company and privately call ‘111’ before taking any further necessary action.

If an employee is not sick but has chosen to self-isolate, do we have to pay them sick pay?

There is no legal right to sick pay in these circumstances, but it may be good practice or you run the risk of your employees coming into work and potentially spreading the virus to the rest of the workforce.

What if employees do not want to come to work?

Some people may be worried about catching coronavirus and therefore may be unwilling to come into work. If this is the case you should listen carefully to the concerns of your employees and if possible, offer flexible working arrangements such as homeworking. Employees can also request time off as holiday or unpaid leave but there is no obligation on employers to agree to this. If an employee refuses to attend work, you are entitled to take disciplinary action.

You should consider taking legal advice before taking any decisions which affect your employees and workforce.

For more information about the coronavirus visit Public Health Wales.

We can assist you in ensuring your workplace policies and procedures are compliant and any queries you have relating to HR and employment matters including issues related to coronavirus. Please contact Karl Thomas, Partner and Head of Employment and Dispute Resolution at Loosemores Solicitors via ThomasK@loosemores.co.uk or call 029 2080 3112.

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