Coronavirus: How is HR reacting?

16 Mar 2020 By PM Editorial

People Management and the CIPD recently surveyed more than 600 employers to find out how they are responding to the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK. Here's what they told us

Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of those polled were placing restrictions on business travel to a certain degree, including 13 per cent that are restricting all business travel.

Just over a quarter (27 per cent) were not restricting business travel.

Many employers were also ramping up efforts to allow employees to work from home, with two-thirds (66 per cent) reminding their staff they can work from home if required.

Over half (51 per cent) of employers surveyed told People Management they would offer full sick pay to any employee who needed to self-isolate.

At the other end of the scale, almost a fifth (17 per cent) had not yet considered how to handle paying employees who had to self-isolate. People Management covered this story in more detail on 11 March 2020: Fifth of businesses have not considered pay for self-isolating staff

When it came to communicating with staff about the outbreak, People Management's survey received a mixed response.

A total of 10 per cent told us they hadn't sent any staff communications on the subject, comprising 4 per cent who hadn't sent any but intended to; 4 per cent who are encouraging communication between managers and teams; and 2 per cent who don't intend to send any at all. People Management covered this story in more detail on 12 March 2020: One in 10 employers yet to send staff communications on coronavirus

At the other end of the scale, nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of respondents reported they were communicating with their employees on a daily basis, if not more often.

Events within organisations are also subject to some upheaval, with only 13 per cent of respondents encouraging employees to proceed as usual with meetings.

With the threat of school closures looming, the majority of employers that completed People Management's survey (70 per cent) said employees will be able to work from home wherever possible.

Almost one in 10 (9 per cent) reported they would continue to pay staff as normal, and 14 per cent said employees would need to take unpaid emergency leave.

Promisingly, the majority of those polled reported HR had been either very or quite involved in business continuity planning around the outbreak.

And an overwhelming majority expected the outbreak would have some degree of financial impact on their business.

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