What Plan B Involves for Employers

What Plan B Involves for Employers- a clock with a sticker saying time for plan b

6th November 2021

What Plan B Involves for Employers

Plan B and employers

There’s a great deal of talk at the moment about the need to implement Plan B apropos Covid and the forthcoming winter season. So, in this post we’ll examine what that means for employers should the government choose to move to Plan B.

What Plan B Involves for Employers- a clock with a sticker saying time for plan b

Before we get to that though, who is calling for Plan B – and why? The BBC news website reports that daily Covid cases have risen to 50,000. In the wake of those numbers, health secretary Sajid Javid has commented they could double.

The Labour Party has now joined a number of organisations which last week called for some sort of action. Meanwhile, SAGE, the government’s scientific advisory group, stated the need to prepare for rapid deployment of plans to reintroduce stricter Covid restrictions.

The cry is also getting louder from the NHS Confederation and the British Medical Association who have accused the government of wilful negligence.

What is Plan B?

The current strategy (Plan A) focuses on testing and vaccination to help prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed. But Plan B is a set of contingency measures that the government will trigger if the pressure on the NHS becomes unsustainable. It comprises:

  • Compulsory face coverings in some settings
  • Powers to introduce vaccine passports
  • Encouraging people to work from home
  • Communicating the need for caution

What does Plan B mean for businesses?

If you’re an employer that’s only recently got your staff back in the office – brace yourself. It’s more than likely you’ll have to return to remote working measures in the event of Plan B being implemented. You should by now have a good idea how you can best achieve that. But, should you harbour any doubts, Go-Legal can of course advise.

At this point we can only stress that you need to be aware and prepare for a return to remote working. If you don’t then you risk losing staff to other employers who are prepared and are leaning into the situation. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your staff will stick with you if you fail to plan for them having to work through a new lockdown.

What should you do to prepare?

In the first instance, as Ann Francke, CEO of the Charted Management Institute says: Plan! Then plan and plan some more! She further advises managers to have frank conversations with their staff and teams to get them onboard with a strategy. Part of this planning entails making sure you have the contractual entitlement to enforce any changes to your staff’s working location.

What if your staff can’t work from home?

In this circumstance, you must have measures in place to ensure their continual safety and compliance with government guidance. That is certain to include wearing a face covering.

To guard against push and hesitancy in your staff, communicate with them often.

In practical terms, looking after workers should be a business priority, says Ryan Exley, a content developer at Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). He further advises, and we agree, it’s best not to sit on this until the government moves to implement Plan B. Better by far to have regular reviews of your Covid safety measures. That way you can be sure they’re as effective as they can be. Then to act to amend where necessary.

In offering a balanced view, it’s fair to point out that some commentators within government insist that Plan B may not be necessary. But, as the infection rate continues to rise and the seasonal pressure on the NHS builds up, we cannot rule out a return to some form of restrictions. Restrictions that we thought we’d left behind with the full implementation of Johnson’s road map. 

Go Legal HR can assist you in all aspects of supporting your staff through the winter months and implementation of Plan B. You’ll find all our contact details here.