The coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) continues to spread in Europe, Asia and the US. Prudence and reasonable measured reactions are essential to containing the virus, which has now become a global task.
Risk identification, Prevention and Action are three key priorities for HR departments. This will ensure sensible and effective action is taken to protect employees and the continued operation of your business.
Are you prepared? Our checklist will help you identify the first priority action and the need for further support.
Part 1: Risk identification
- Do you have an up-to-date risk assessment in place, and is it capable of assessing the specific dangers and developing threats of the crisis?
- Do you have a plan in case of emergency, including emergency drills if necessary?
- Which departments/areas of the company are particularly critical for ensuring continued business operations?
- Which employees are critical/indispensable for ensuring continued business operations?
- Which of your company’s infrastructure/services/products are particularly at risk if personnel are absent?
- Do you have any substitution options and deputy regulations in place in the event that critical employees are absent/impacted? (Who can do what? Who could do what?)
Is it logistically and legally possible to work remotely and have the necessary precautions been taken?
Is there a legal basis for instructing employees to work from home
- works agreement
- an employment agreement
- Individual agreement
Ensure remote working is practically possible for your employees:
- Ensure remote access to company IT systems.
- Equip employees with necessary IT equipment (e.g. laptop, mobile phone)
- Availability of employees without official IT equipment should be considered (private email, mobile numbers)
- Ensure lines of communication are accessible to clients/customers, suppliers and contract partners etc
Part 2: Prevention
- Are your employeessufficiently informed and instructed based on your risk assessment.
- Is there an internal reporting office and/or point of contact for reporting potential risks (recent private vacation in high risk areas, contact with suspected cases, symptoms)? Has this been communicated to your employees?
- Do you have sufficient disinfectants available to all employees?
- Do you have recommended hygiene rules in place and are they well-known to employees?
- Have rules of conduct been established, implemented and are they well-known to employees (responding to clients and customers)?
- Do you have an individual or team responsible for monitoring compliance with the current rules?
- Have health and safety measures been sufficiently and effectively delegated?
- Is there sufficient insurance cover for potential operational failures?
Part 3: Action
- Has management agreed to implement emergency measures immediately?
- Do you have a fixed, escalation-level communications plan?
- Has the responsible health authority has been identified? Businesses have a duty to report any risks and confirmed cases.
- Are you able to implement quick tests for all endangered employees?
- Do you have a ‘crisis’ team in place that can react to evolving crisis situations (cases of quarantine measures or disease reports)?
- Can you guarantee critical/key employees are accessible?
- Do you have press statements prepared for external communication and do you need regular updates?
- It is known whether a full or partial closure of the business is possible?
- What is the maximum period of rest for the company? (“war chest”)
- Are the legal and factual preconditions for applying for short-time work compensation fulfilled?
We can support you with any of the priorities outlined in this checklist. If you have any questions or need further guidance, please contact our expert task force of Dr. Oliver Bertram, Dr. Kilian Friemel, Dr. Michael Pils, Dr. Johannes Höft, and Guang Li (China).
Read more in the following document: Coronavirus - Recommendation for German HR department
We have compiled on our website comprehensive information and recommendations for action in response to the legal implications arising from the coronavirus pandemic: Coronavirus - legal issues