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What Exiting Plan B Means for Business

Yesterday, 19 January 2022, the government announced from 27 January 2022 England will be coming out of Plan B restrictions and reverting to Plan A restrictions.

There are a few different dates to the restrictions being lifted and a few areas to consider in terms of HR and Health and Safety requirements for your business as well as the wider country.

What does reverting to Plan A look like?

  • Employees/workers etc. are no longer asked to work from home if they can.
  • From 27 January, there is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering.
  • From 27 January, venues and events are no longer required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass

The Detail of reverting to plan A

  • This means as of yesterday (Wednesday 19 January) the government is no longer asking people to work from home if they can.
  • Employers are encourage to speak to their employees to arrange returning to the office/workplace, it is advised to consider their wellbeing of the change and how the changes may affect their mental health and wellbeing.
  • As of today (Thursday 20 January) face coverings are no longer advised in classrooms for both staff and pupils. They can however be worn by personal choice.
  • From Thursday 27 January venues and events will no longer be required by law to use the NHS Covid Pass. The NHS Covid Pass can still be used on a voluntary basis as was previously the case in Plan A.
  • Face coverings will no longer be required by law in any setting. Although not law, it is advised that individuals continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, where they may come into contact with people they wouldn’t normally meet.

 

 

HR Considerations

  • Employees may still be apprehensive of returning to the workplace and in general concerned about covid 19. The government's plan to continually tackle covid 19 is for individuals to be vaccinated with the initial two doses of the vaccine and then to have the top-up boosters when it is offered to them.
  • Government statistics suggest the rollout of the booster vaccination has enabled the reduction in cases of covid and the new Omnicom variant allowing the removal of the additional restrictions under Plan B.
  • Employers need to be mindful of personal opinion, some individuals will not want to have the vaccination at all due to their beliefs, whereas other employees will have ensured they have all of the vaccinations when offered to them. The workplace should be free from (as far as reasonably practicable) employees pressuring other employees into their beliefs and thoughts and allow individuals to make up their own minds on what they choose. Company Policies can assist here.
  • As mentioned above, It is recommended workplaces have Covid vaccination policies and covid testing policies in place so that employees are aware of the organisations stance on vaccinations and testing within the workplace where applicable.
  • As well as covid policies, it is also recommended to have mental health and wellbeing policies in place with clear guidance for employees of where to go or who to speak to if they are struggling and require assistance.
  • When developing policies managers should be trained and understand the policies in place so that they are able to manage situations to the best of their ability.
  • It is also recommended managers have some training in terms of employee wellbeing and what signs to look out for to suggest where employees may be struggling with their mental health, which may be linked to the ongoing pandemic.
  • There has been a lot of discussion within the media of organisations reducing their sick pay for individuals who are not vaccinated, caution should be exercised when considering this as it is likely to be considered discriminatorily and the vaccine still remains a personal choice and is not mandatory unless in a care setting.
  • It is currently the case that those who are vaccinated but have come into close contact with an individual who has tested positive for covid do not have to self isolate but it is recommended they get a covid test to ensure they do not have covid.
  • Individuals who are not vaccinated must self-isolate as soon as they are notified they have been in close contact with an individual that has tested positive for covid regardless of whether they test positive themselves or not.
  • Individuals who test positive with a lateral flow test (LFT) no longer need to get a PCR test to confirm the result, they must self-isolate as soon as they get the positive result.
  • On day 5 an individual is now able to take an LFT test and if that is negative they can take another LFT test on day 6 and if that is again negative will be able to leave self-isolation, Caution should still be maintained and it is recommended masks are worn by the individual and they still to social distancing when going out.

We will continue to monitor guidance updates and changes to the Law relating to Covid and keep you updated. If you are in any doubt please contact our office or your lead consultant.

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