A LEADING employment solicitor in Bury has issued a guide on how employers can minimise disruptions linked to coronavirus.

Michael Shroot, of WHN, says there are five ways bosses can stay ahead of the curve during the COVID-19 outbreak.

He is firstly urging employers to be ready - ensure staff are kept informed of actions to minimise the risk of exposure, any contact numbers are up-to-date, how symptoms can be identified, that hand sanitisers, face masks and hand-washing facilities are available and whether the risks of travelling to affected areas have been carefully considered.

Mr Shroot also says issues around sick pay and sick leave entitlements need to be addressed, not only if someone has coronavirus but if employees are required to self-isolate for 14 days. He is urging flexibility and understanding.

Another related issue might be employees wanting to stay off work as they are concerned about catching coronavirus.

Mr Shroot advises that, again, a flexible strategy is helpful, with consideration given to either working from home provisions, or taking time out as holiday or unpaid leave. But he warns that firm action still needs to be taken for anyone refusing to attend.

Firms must also have an action plan for what will happen if anyone was to turn up with coronavirus symptoms, he has stressed, including contacting Public Health England's public health protection team.

And ultimately Mr Shroot says plans should be in place in case workplaces need to be closed down, and ongoing pay for staff.

He added: "Presently, an employer having to shut up shop is extremely unlikely. Even so, you should plan in case you need to close partially or temporarily. Sensible steps could include ensuring employees can communicate with you, for example by mobile phone, text or e-mail."