Most everyone will be aware of the coronavirus outbreak that is spreading globally. Some countries are handling it and some are not. Thanks to our higher health standards, quick responses by relevant government authorities, quarantining practices (both enforced and voluntary), and being girt by sea, Australia has been well placed to minimise or contain the effects.
Thankfully, there have been few infected people returning to, or arriving in, Australia so far. Unfortunately, the first Australian casualty an elderly Australian gentleman who had been on the Diamond Princess cruise ship contracted the virus and died as a result.
However, the virus outbreak has already caused economic effects on and in Australia. We have seen share market jitters, travel restrictions being imposed, tourism downturns, manufacturing shutdowns in China, and mitigation strategies being applied at international events.
Although we can generally trust the approaches being considered and applied by relevant Australian authorities, we all have to be part of the solution. Aside from possible effects on travel and trade, workplaces need to consider this issue from a health and safety perspective. All businesses should risk assess the possible effects on their business, particularly those risks to workers.
As with the normal flu season advice, hand washing and good hygiene are some of the best and simplest ways to avoid catching and spreading any virus.
We attach a link to a World Health Organisation advice on related workplace considerations and the best ways to prepare for and deal with the virus:
Overall, consider the issue and its possible effects on your business. Don’t allow panic and fake news to affect your decisions, don’t unnecessarily discriminate against employees, communicate clearly and regularly with your employees and seek advice if you have any concerns.
More resources for the public, health professionals and industry are available from:
Department of Health
Better HR provides the HR tools and advice you need to manage people during the Covid-19 crisis. Such as:
- HR & EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS ADVICE – To help you manage people during the Covid-19 crisis (eg. Can I stand down workers?, Can I reduce employee working hours?, Can I terminate staff?, Can I reduce employee salaries or wages?, Can I order people to work from home?, etc).
- SAFETY PROCESSES & REGISTERS – To help you manage Work, Health and Safety obligations during the Covid-19 crisis (eg. Managing Hazards).
- HIRING, MANAGING and EXITING PROCESSES & REGISTERS– To help you manage essential HR functions during the Covid-19 crisis (eg. Paying Workers, Working from Home, Stand Downs, Redundancies, Terminations, etc).
- HR POLICY TEMPLATES – To help you set clear guidelines for employees during the Covid-19 crisis (eg. Working From Home Policy).
- LETTERS, FORMS & CHECKLISTS – To help you manage people effectively during the Covid-19 crisis (eg. Working From Home Checklist, Working From Home Agreement, Stand Down letter, etc).
- BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING – To help you identify and manage risks in your business during the Covid-19 crisis.
- COMMONLY ASKED COID-19 RELATED QUESTIONS – To help you understand and get answers to questions that are commonly being asked by employers during the Covid-19 crisis.
- And more!
For specific HR and employment relations advice:
By phone: Call our team of HR and employment law experts on 1300 781 299.
By email: Login to your Better HR subscription and use the ADVICE options.
For HR tools and resources:
We have added a new ‘COVID-19’ menu option to make it easier to find the tools and resources you need during the crisis. We have also added new tools and resources to help.
Login to your Better HR subscription to access:
- New ‘COVID-19’ menu with specific resources to help you manage COVID-19 related issues
- Business Continunity Planning
- Working from Home Checklist
- Working from Home Policy
- Working from Home Agreement
- Stand Down Proceedure & Templates (eg. Stand Down Letter Template)
- Redundancies Proceedure & Templates
- Safety Proceedures & Templates (eg. Managing Hazards)
- And more!
Need help to find what you need? Call our customer care team on 1300 659 563
Not a subscriber?