EMPLOYER OBLIGATIONS / EMPLOYER RELATIONS
Employers should be taking additional steps to ensure the health and safety of their staff and customers, and this goes beyond the government advice on social distancing and physical health and safety measures.
Obligations to Staff
Mental Health of Employees
The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted workplaces and support programs such as JobKeeper have brought their own challenges for retailers doing their best to support their staff. As we enter the recovery period, employers should be planning the next steps of their reopening - will staff be gradually phased or are you planning to open at near full capacity? Plan your operations and give your staff notice of changes - communicate clearly, keep them informed. There’s plenty to consider: how to deal with suspected COVID-19 cases, what about staff at a higher risk of contracting the virus or those who don’t want to return to work yet, potential changes to hours and pay. For questions like these, ARA members should contact our employment relations support team so we can help you navigate the challenges.
The emergence of COVID-19 across the globe has created a new work health and safety risk that retail businesses need to manage. Workers may be at an increased risk of exposure to other hazards stemming from the current situation, such as workplace aggression and violence. We should take a zero-tolerance approach to abuse and violence in the workplace. Retailers have a duty under the health and safety laws to manage risks associated with exposure to hazards arising from work that could result in physical or psychological harm. Now is the time for retailers to take a systematic approach to manage the risks of customer aggression and protect the health and safety of our staff.
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