Employers Liability & working from home

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With many employees working from home there are two main issues to consider, firstly to ensure that if the staff are clerical in nature that their work area is safe and that you check in with them regularly to make sure they are OK, working from home can be stressful especially if the house has many occupants. Secondly, that you notify your insurers if employees have taken work property home, to ensure there is cover in place for property owned by the business.

UK insurers should have no issue with non-manual (UK domicile) employees working from home, but from a Health & Safety / risk perspective employers need to follow their usual procedures and ensure that it is suitable and safe for them to do so.  Employers can find guidance on the HSE website: https://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/workers/home.htm

Further general information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

Separately, it is also recommended that employees check that their home insurance does not prohibit home working and/or notify their insurers where appropriate.

Overseas business travel

Given the latest advice from the FCO with regard to travel outside of the UK, employers also need to consider the implications of undertaking any overseas business travel at this time, and how this may impact the duty of care they owe to their employees.

Employment Practices Liability

For any business there is always a possibility that claims may arise when a business is considered to have inadequately prepared itself to handle how an outbreak may affect the business.

Insurers would expect policyholders to take appropriate prudent measures to protect their employees and the business. For example, organisations should be reviewing their current plans or put plans in place by establishing a pandemic coordinator or team to focus on this issue (including addressing such issues as protecting staff.

Any claim brought by an employee (against their employer) for breach of employment law would ordinarily be the subject of a claim under an Employment Practice Liability Insurance policy, for example, an employee claiming for wrongful termination.

Employers should check whether they have such coverage in place (it may be arranged in isolation or as part of a Management Liability policy).