Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that non-essential retail in England will be permitted to reopen from 12 April, much to the relief of business owners up and down the country.
Sadly, with many familiar brands having gone into administration, we can expect a much altered high street when non-essential stores begin to trade again. However, some independent store owners are predicting a retail revival and have spent the latest lockdown investing in revamped premises and larger stores.
But each day that a shop remains closed increases the chances that it will never open again, costing jobs and damaging local communities. It is therefore critical that you are prepared to reopen smoothly, safely and without delay.
COVID-19 | FREE expert guidance for employers, including sample policies, template risk assessments and more
In this recent live webinar, co-hosted by Ellis Whittam’s Director of Employment Law, James Tamm, and Director of Health & Safety, Nick Wilson, alongside special guest, BIRA CEO Andrew Goodacre, the trio covered important topics such as:
- Preparing to reopen safely for your staff and customers;
Making sure your premises are consistent with the relevant guidance;
- The employment legalities surrounding vaccination;
- Utilising flexible furlough to accommodate safety measures and respond to fluctuations in demand;
- What to do about holiday accrual;
- The key risk control measures that need to be in place;
- The importance of reassuring customers about safety;
- Face coverings and the challenges experienced by shops that have stayed open; and
- A recap of what has happened previously when operating with COVID restrictions in place, such as working with local authorities regarding road closures and footfall figures.
Resources from the webinar
Use this template to record important checks of your retail premises before returning to work after lockdown. Stay alert to government announcements on return to work and complete before reoccupation.
This health and safety checklist should be completed on a weekly basis or more frequently if required. Where the response is that action is needed, this should be noted on the Action Log at the back of this checklist and allocated to a named person for action. When the task is completed, details will be recorded for future reference.
Common questions about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
On 3 March 2021, the Chancellor announced that the scheme would be extended again, this time until the end of September 2021. Up until the end of June 2021, the government contribution remains at 80%. In July, employers will have to make a 10% contribution to furlough pay increasing to 20% for August and September 2021.
During, before and after the Reopening Retail webinar, we were inundated with questions.
Our expert Employment Law and Health & Safety teams have answered all of them in this handy PDF which you can download below.
Vaccination FAQ (England & Wales)
Should we force employees to be vaccinated? What’s the position regarding pay? And should we update our risk assessment? Find out in this England & Wales-specific FAQ.
Vaccination FAQ (Northern Ireland)
Should we force employees to be vaccinated? What’s the position regarding pay? And should we update our risk assessment? Find out in this Northern Ireland-specific FAQ.
Vaccination FAQ (Scotland)
Should we force employees to be vaccinated? What’s the position regarding pay? And should we update our risk assessment? Find out in this Scotland-specific FAQ.
Risk Assessment Template (Shops & Branches)
This template risk assessment is intended to help you document the risk control measures you have introduced within the workplace to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is not a Business Continuity Plan.
You must modify this risk assessment to ensure it reflects your business activities and the specific risks and controls you have in place.
Vaccination & Testing Guide
Vaccination has many employment law implications. This guide covers making vaccination mandatory, what happens if employees refuse, and the legal risks.
Immunisation & Testing Policy
This template policy will help you to communicate your stance on vaccination and testing to your employees and make your position clear.
Back to Business Hub
Experts in Employment Law, HR, and Health & Safety
Why choose us?
What makes us unique is that we combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment Law, HR and Health & Safety support tailored to your organisation.
Our people are the basis of our service. They are the reason why we have a 95% client satisfaction rate and an annual client retention rate of 97%.
Our professional services experts help business leaders like you to:
- Proactively solve problems;
- Ensure regulatory compliance; and
- Achieve commercial objectives.
Who you'll be working with
95% Client satisfaction rate - 97% Client retention rate
Proud to support over 35,000 employers across a range of sectors
“I’ve taken Ellis Whittam into every organisation that I’ve worked with. I’ve introduced them to many teams and many colleagues and referred them with absolute pleasure because I genuinely trust in the service that we get.”
Debbie Jamieson, People Director
“We get a great deal of comfort and satisfaction knowing that we have support as and when we need it, in a decisive and responsive way.”
Richard Berry, Group HR Director
Bluestone National Park Resort
“What we recognised in Ellis Whittam is the background that they have. They are able to supply knowledge and experience in a number of disciplines, which enables us to develop our business in a way that’s safe, to do it on time and with a quality to it.”
Debbie Rainbow, Director of Human Resources and Health & Safety
“As the company started to get larger, we knew we had to protect our employees and our contractors both onsite and in the offices. Ellis Whittam is exactly what we needed to move the company forward.”
Joanne Beaver, Operations Director
“We have found Ellis Whittam to be responsive and aligned with our business in terms of our processes and expectations. Their pragmatic approach has proven to be a great fit – nobody wants to be fighting their adviser on basic employment decisions.”
Jonathan Green, COO
“Ellis Whittam supports our 280 staff members with Employment Law and Health & Safety and has provided quality management training too.”
Lisa Best, Head of Service Delivery
Discover how Ellis Whittam can support your sickness and absence needs
Latest news and insights
BLOG Written on 7 December 2021 After the CEO of a US digital mortgage firm made headlines for firing 900 people in a single Zoom call,
BLOG Written by Rachel Holding on 9 November 2021 When faced with employee issues, your employment contracts can either protect your interests or put you
BLOG Written on 15 October 2021 On 1 October, the UK’s COVID-19 furlough scheme was officially withdrawn after nearly two years of operation. While the
BLOG Written by Kirstie Beattie on 1 October 2021 A mother who made a flexible working request to allow her to leave work at 5pm
BLOG Written by James Tamm on 24 September 2021 As businesses finalise their return to work plans, the government is preparing to consult on the
BLOG Written on 21 September 2021 Thanks to increasing life expectancy and decreasing mortality, there is now a greater age range in the workplace than
Do vaccinated employees need to take a PCR test following close contact with a positive COVID-19 case?
BLOG Written on 20 September 2021 While the legal requirement for fully-vaccinated people to self-isolate was revoked in an attempt to put an end to
BLOG Written on 15 September 2021 While most COVID restrictions have been lifted, coronavirus remains a workplace hazard that needs to be managed. So what’s
BLOG Written by Toyah Marshall on 13 September 2021 The controversial Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 are set