Covid-19 has affected everything, and although the worst is over, the issues remain. While it's a great thing that business can reopen and the economies can begin recovery, the bumps in that road are varied and widespread.
Not least for business, as they adapt to a changing world. At the same time, some of the worst potential legal issues facing post-Covid employees could take a long time to rectify.
While it's true that most people have received their Covid jab, there are those among the global workforce who have not. The reasons for this vary. Some don't see Covid as a threat. Others are misinformed and think vaccination is some conspiracy.
Then some refuse vaccination on religious grounds or personal beliefs, as is their right to do so. However, employers have expressed concern that staff may be subjected to harassment if unvaccinated. Further, in the UK, some employers have illegally stated they will consider vaccination a conditional requirement of returning to work.
If you run a business, you may want to consider legal advice from private firms like Ellisons solicitors since there are laws in place concerning vaccination. Private companies cannot force employees into vaccination from 11 Nov 2021 in the UK. However, employees working for Care Quality Commission-registered companies are required two doses of a vaccine before entering the premises. So while you cannot force vaccination, there is nothing wrong with encouragement.
Sanitation and Hygiene
Further to encouraging vaccination, it would be best if you considered widespread encouragement of social distancing and health practices. Although infection rates are dropping, there is still a risk of transmission between the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. Therefore, it is still necessary to sanitize anything multiple personnel may touch, such as desks, stair railings and elevator buttons.
Social distancing in the office and other workplaces is also still relevant. For example, mask-wearing is no longer mandated in most nations. Yet, it remains an excellent infection reduction and protection method. In addition, establishments such as cinemas and theatres encourage mask-wearing.
However, you need to be aware that you cannot force employees or clients to wear a mask as an employer. Additionally, there is no longer legal recourse for those who refuse. Therefore your company should undertake cleaning and hygiene as appropriate.
Employment and Working Hours
For many, the pandemic has been a rocky ride where employment and pay is concerned. Some countries helped out some workers with cheques in the US and the UK's furlough and employee retention scheme. But, for most, the payments of 80% of staff wages have been just about enough to tide people over. But now that most establishments are reopening, many are left out of pocket. Most are working reduced hours if they have a job at all.
As such, unemployment for personnel in this sector is expected to increase significantly. And those that remain could face reduced hours. Yet with severe supply chain issues, abandoned high streets and an energy crisis, the UK alone is facing a tough quarter into the new year.