First Tuesday Q&A

The claimant was dismissed by reason of gross misconduct and in particular.

Is there a minimum period for which employees must be furloughed under the “flexible furlough scheme”?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/08/2020 Prior to 1 July 2020, employees had to be furloughed for a minimum period of three consecutive weeks. However, from 1 July 2020, the flexible furlough scheme commenced which enables employers to pick and choose when employees are on furlough and when they are working. Therefore, there is currently...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Coronavirus/Covid-19

Can we make our employees wear face masks when in the office?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/08/2020 Public Health NI strongly advises individuals to think about wearing a face covering in particular circumstances, such as short periods in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not possible. It is anticipated that face masks could become compulsory in shops in Northern Ireland from 20 August 2...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Health and Safety Coronavirus/Covid-19

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

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

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

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

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

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...

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

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