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Prepare to reopen checklist

From 12 April, major parts of the UK economy are set to reopen. If you’re a business, getting ready to reopen may be daunting. This checklist can help you tick off the key things you have to do to protect your customers, employees and business.

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Understand the rules and guidance on COVID-19 for your business from the UK Government and the Health and Safety Executive.



Create a Return to work risk assessment and a Health and safety policy to demonstrate legal compliance with health and safety regulations. Find out more about managing risk.



When businesses reopen, all workplaces will have to comply with social distancing rules. Be aware of the measures you’ll need to implement to maintain social distancing. Some of these measures may be industry-specific.



As an employer, you must take reasonable steps to protect your staff and customers from harm. Be sure to understand the guidelines around cleanliness and handwashing and ventilation. You may also need to consider stocking personal protective equipment (PPE).



For whatever reason, your staff may be working from home. Consider creating a Working from home policy or a Temporary working from home policy to set out key guidance your staff should follow. If you recall your staff, their personal needs and responsibilities may have changed so you may wish to consider flexible working.



Remember, even if your staff are working from home, you still have the same level of health and safety responsibilities. Ensure you’re aware of key considerations.



Some of your staff may be vulnerable. You have a legal duty to protect your workers and implement measures that reduce risk. Make sure you consider the risks to these workers and implement additional safeguards.



Before you conclude your policies, be sure that everyone who works for you irrespective of employment status (eg contractors) are taken into account.



Once you have made your requisite policies, you should consult and/or explain them to your staff. This will ensure everyone is aware of the changes you’re planning.



Strategise how you plan on bringing your staff back into the workplace or from furlough, especially if your business won’t be operating at full capacity. You may wish to offer limited hours or recall a small number of individuals.



For furloughed employees, make a Recall an employee from furlough letter to notify employees of your intention to change their employment status and bring them back to work.



Even with the Government’s vaccination programme, staff may still become unwell due to COVID-19 or other illnesses. Create a Sickness policy to set out procedures for reporting and managing sickness absence. Find out more about sick pay.



Unfortunately, challenging trade conditions may persist causing you to make redundancies. Be sure to understand the laws and regulations around redundancy, redundancy pooling and selection and how to make someone redundant.



Consider how you will manage your employees during any challenging trading periods after reopening to ensure you’re prepared.



Communicate regularly with your staff and customers to increase awareness of your health and safety practices and how your business will be operating.



When you reopen, you may wish to use zero hours contracts to remain flexible amidst changing demand. Make a Zero hours contract that sets out the employment status and rights and obligations of your zero-hours staff.



You may need to make adjustments to your employees’ employment terms and conditions. Make a Change to employment terms letter if you want to notify employees of any changes to their employment contract.



As part of the Chancellor’s 2021 Budget, various levels of support are being offered to businesses. Make sure you’re aware of what you help you may be entitled to.



Consider creating a Business continuity plan to prepare your business in case of future emergencies.

Make your Return to work risk assessment
Get started
Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest

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