The spread of COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus, is an exceptional circumstance with ongoing ramifications for organisations, individuals and society on every level. As the situation continues to develop and change, the CIPD will provide updated advice, resources and guidance to support employers and people professionals in their response.

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CIPD position

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is an exceptional event posing a threat to worker health and safety and a risk to business operations. 

The UK Government has estimated that a fifth of the workforce could be absent at the peak of the disease, raising a significant challenge for organisations. It will be a huge test of their agility and people support capability. 

As a new virus, it’s unclear how long the threat will last so organisations must plan for weeks and possibly months of disruption. 

Employee health, safety and well-being during this time is paramount. Employers need to be proactive in protecting their people and minimising the risk to staff and business continuity. The people profession needs to be at the forefront of the plans and critical decisions being made about the workforce. 

They must recognise that many of their people will be anxious about contracting the virus and how they might cope financially if they are to be absent from work. Constant communication with the workforce and early action are key.  

By swiftly adopting agile and flexible working practices, and being generous with sick pay for example, organisations will be better positioned to contain the coronavirus and minimise disruption to business. 

Even so, the risk cannot be completely eliminated. Governments, employers and employees must all be ready to take additional steps to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

Hear from Peter Cheese, the CIPD's CEO on how best to prepare for this ever changing situation

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