What is my legal obligation as an employer in the covid-19 crisis?

Friday March 27 2020

 

By Moses Ssesanga

I am an owner of a company with 300 employees. In the face of the COVID-19, I am considering stopping all operations in order to protect my employees from exposure to the virus. However, I am confused about how I should go about payment in case this situation lasts for months. What are my legal obligations as an employer?
Alex

Dear Alex
COVID-19 has disrupted this planet so profoundly and the world of work as we know it has been transformed drastically. By the time the impact of COVID-19 on the Ugandan economy is assessed, the workplace would have evolved into ways which we cannot fathom as of now.

The surest way to win the COVID-19 battle is to heighten the sanitation drive across the organisation and promote the Government and MOH guidelines on protection of people at the workplace.

Keeping the workplace clean and well aerated builds confidence among employees and customers that they are transacting business in a safe environment.

Secondly, management has to communicate regularly with clarity to their employees on the measures being taken for business continuity and safety of employees.

Depending on the nature of your business, you will realise you have options to consider before sending everybody home, including, working remotely where possible. These changes will however, require you to invest in facilitating staff with data and remote dial-in into your network.

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Finally, you should refer to the guidelines the minister responsible for labour recently gave in regard to managing the COVID-19 impact to businesses and the welfare of the workers.

If you have to make the unfortunate decision of laying off workers, you are advised to strictly follow the Employment Act provisions to the letter.

Moses Ssesanga
Head Human Resource
NMG - Uganda
mssesanga@ug.nationmedia.com

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