Eight in 10 employers pay more than statutory sick pay requirements

Eight in 10 (80%) employers are providing staff with sick pay at a level over and above statutory amounts during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, according to research by Lewis Silkin.

Employer surveys involving 70 HR leaders from businesses collectively employing more than 200,000 staff, which took place in March 2020, also found that 34% of organisations are paying full pay to staff during the Coronavirus pandemic, even if employees are unable to work from home.

Almost three-fifths (58%) of employers stated that they had implemented a policy in response to Coronavirus, while only one in 10 (10%) had no plans to do this.

The vast majority (90%) of respondents to the survey were implmenting working from home arrangements, while 44% were planning to be flexible with employee hours.

When asked what measures they were putting in place to protect the health and wellbeing of employees, 80% of employers stated that they were asking line managers to keep in regular contact with team members, while 81% were encouraging video calls over telephone and emails. Just over half (52%) said they were encouraging social interaction between employees.

Almost seven in 10 (68%) said they were prioritising mental health support,  but only 13% stated that they had increased the mental health support available to staff, and just 10% said they had carried out risk assessments.

A quarter (25%) of employers were planning to ask employees to work extra hours due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

James Davies, employment partner at Lewis Silkin, said: “The issues which employers are facing are changing rapidly as the Coronavirus pandemic develops and new government guidance and policy is announced.

“We have purposefully been tracking the key challenges employers are seeking to overcome but this remains a moving target. We will continue to do what we can to shine a spotlight on the most up to date practice from leading employers to help businesses make better, more informed, decisions regarding the very acute staff and workplace issues they are dealing with.”