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First Tuesday Q and A

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Features

If an employee has been advised to self-isolate but a test shows they are negative for COVID-19, can they return to work before the self-isolation period is up?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/07/2020 Yes, once an employee has received a negative COVID-19 test they are able to return to work provided that they feel well enough to do so.
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Health and Safety Coronavirus/Covid-19
Features

If an employee has been advised to self-isolate (e.g. through the test and trace system) are we entitled to ask for evidence to verify this?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/07/2020 Northern Ireland has its own test and trace system in place via the Public Health Agency (“PHA”). The PHA contact tracing system identifies individuals who have been in close contact (for example, being less than 2 metres apart for more than 15 minutes) with someone who has tested positive for COVI...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Coronavirus/Covid-19
Features

Are employees who are self-quarantining following a foreign holiday entitled to SSP?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/07/2020 The rules on self-quarantine following over-seas travel do not apply universally to the UK and are a devolved matter, which means employers need to tread carefully to ensure that they are following Norther Ireland specific guidance. Therefore, the more relaxed approach taken by England is not curre...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Health and Safety Coronavirus/Covid-19
Features

How can we ensure that employees inform us if they are told to isolate as part of the test and trace system?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/07/2020 This is a concern for many employers, particularly as employees who are advised to self-isolate will likely only be entitled to receive SSP (unless their contract permits them to receive enhanced sick pay). As the current SSP entitlement is £95.85 per week, employees may not want to inform their em...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Health and Safety Coronavirus/Covid-19
Features

Is an employee that rejects an offer of suitable alternative employment entitled to notice pay in a redundancy scenario?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/06/2020 If an employee unreasonably refuses suitable alternative employment in a redundancy scenario, they are treated as dismissed. This means that an employee could lose their right to a statutory redundancy payment (provided that they were otherwise eligible e.g. two years continuous service). However, ...
Features

We have had to delay an employee’s start date to three months after the date specified in their contract due to Covid-19. When will their period of continuity of employment commence?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/06/2020 Article 7(1)(a) of the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (“ER(NI)O”) states that an employee’s period of continuous employment commences on the “day on which the employee starts work". However, this has been subject to interpretation in the courts because there are instances when an e...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment Coronavirus/Covid-19
Features

What factors do employers need to consider in relation to testing employees for Covid-19?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/06/2020 The below answer is for guidance purposes only and specific legal advice should be sought if your organisation is considering implementing Covid-19 testing. There are various factors for employers to consider in relation to making employees take a Covid-19 test, for example: Data protection implic...
Features

Can an employer withdraw offers of employment or delay start dates for new recruits in light of Covid-19?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/06/2020 Withdrawing offers of employment As a starting point, an employer would need to consider if a contract of employment has been signed by the new recruits (although, technically, a contract can be formed without it being written down). This is because once the offer of employment has been made and ac...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment Coronavirus/Covid-19
Features

Must employers still comply with the 30 day response timeframe for subject access requests during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/05/2020 The ICO has confirmed that it cannot relax the 30-day response period for subject access requests because it is a statutory timeframe (set out under sections 45 and 54 of the Data Protection Act 2018). However, the ICO has stated that it appreciates organisations’ attentions may be diverted elsewhe...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Act Coronavirus/Covid-19
Features

In what circumstances can employees claim statutory guarantee payments?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/05/2020 Statutory guarantee payments are covered under Part V (Article 60 – Article 67) of the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996. They are statutory payments which aim to provide a degree of financial assistance to employees who are subject to temporary lay-off or short time working (provided...