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No Covid rules, now what?

Published:  Mar 4, 2022
Suzanne Worthington
Suzanne Worthington

Now that the UK Government has removed all restrictions put in place for Covid-19, does that mean we should go back to normal? The old normal that is, how things were in 2019. The answer is: it depends. The responsibility for protecting ourselves, our families and our teams now falls to us individually.

Why we can’t go back to the old normal

Pre-Covid, many of us hauled ourselves into work even if we felt awful. We had various motivations: we felt indispensable, we didn’t want a sick day on our record, we figured that 50% productive was better than 0%, or we simply wanted to make sure we got paid. But now working remotely is a regular part of the new normal, this should mean many employees no longer bring in their germs to share with the entire office.

For workers whose job means they can’t work from home, or who don’t have the means or environment to work from home, working while sick will be less favourably tolerated and taking a sick day could mean having to wait four days for statutory sick pay to kick in when the Covid-19 provisions to the SSP regulations are lifted in April this year.

For small business owners in the UK, it’s now up to you to set the rules for your workplace. Here, we’ve set out how to revise your company’s Covid-19 rules, how to update your company policies and a timetable of the changes to Covid-19 guidance in the UK.

How to revise your company’s Covid-19 rules

To update your company’s policies, there are two steps to take:

  1. Consultation – talk to your teams

    During the pandemic, your employees have been working in different ways and experienced challenges such as living in isolation, being ill themselves or caring for or losing someone close. Your experience of 2020 and 2021 is just one experience – talk to your teams to gather lots of opinions and ideas about returning to the workplace vs working from home, how work and work friendships can help to maintain good mental health, and anything else they want to share about Covid-19.

  2. Professional advice – look up guidance

    Choose reliable sources such as:

      The Government has updated the official coronavirus guidance at the website. The guidance on the website can be a minimum – for more detail about how to implement the guidance or what works for different employers, try the following two sources.
    • ACAS
      The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service is an independent public organisation with plenty of guidance and suggestions for employers about how to work post-Covid at their website.
    • FSB
      The Federation of Small Businesses has created the Recovery Ready hub with free resources and guides to help your company thrive post-Covid.

How to update your company policies

Rather than having separate Covid-19 rules for your company, you might decide to update the terms in your general company policies, for example to cover:

  • working from home
  • working while ill
  • time off for vaccinations
  • what to do if they test positive for Covid: notifying colleagues, working from home

Did you know you can create a Staff Handbook on SeedLegals? The Handbook covers more than 40 workplace issues to form your company policies. You fill in a questionnaire, then we use your answers to auto-generate your Staff Handbook.

If you’re not already a SeedLegals member, you can register and try us free for seven days. You’ll be able to create your Staff Handbook, employment contracts, NDAs and more in your free trial.

If you’ve already created your Staff Handbook on SeedLegals, it’s easy to update it. Log in, go to Policies and click the pencil icon to edit. Then make sure you share it with your teams.

Whenever you update company policies, you must re-circulate the document to all staff. Make sure they know what’s changed and where to access the document.

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Company Policies

Timetable of Covid-19 changes in 2022

Here’s a timetable of the changes to the Covid-19 guidance and laws. This guidance applies to England, other guidance is in place for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  • 11 Feb 2022
    • Covid-19 tests scrapped for travelling into the UK for fully vaccinated adults.
      ‘Fully vaccinated’ currently means two doses of an approved vaccine, rather than two doses plus a booster. All people arriving into the UK still need to complete a passenger locator form. People who aren’t fully vaccinated need to take a test before they arrive in the UK and after they arrive, a PCR test on or before day 2 – but only need to quarantine if the test result is positive.
  • 21 Feb 2022
    • Staff and students in most education and childcare settings no longer need to test twice a week for Covid-19.
  • 24 Feb 2022
    • Face coverings no longer mandatory on public transport in England.
    • You’re no longer legally required to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid-19. The Government advises people to stay at home if you can and avoid contact with others.
    • If you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, you won’t have to take daily tests and you won’t be legally required to self-isolate.
    • People who are self-isolating can no longer apply for support payments. If you had to self-isolate before 24 February, you can still make a claim up to 6 April.
    • ‘Track and trace’ contact tracing ends, including venue check-ins on the NHS Covid-19 app.
  • 24 Mar 2022
    • The Government removes the changes made to laws about Statutory Sick Pay and Employment and Support Allowance for Covid-19.
  • 1 April 2022
    • The Government will no longer require every employer to factor in Covid-19 health and safety in risk assessments.
      Covid tests no longer available free in England

Small business calendar 2022

Important finance and tax deadlines and changes to UK employment law that need to be in your diary.

View dates
Suzanne Worthington

Suzanne Worthington

Sooze is our Senior Writer. She's obsessed with making complicated things easy to understand.
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