There appears to be a real possibility of a Covid-19 epidemic in the UK. It is said infection rates could rise to 60 per cent of the population, with around a quarter of those suffering severe symptoms, and perhaps two per cent of those who become infected requiring treatment. 

If the disease spreads in anything like this way, transport infrastructure may be disrupted, and it is likely more schools will close (several already have). Material dislocation of normal working patterns is therefore a distinct possibility. 

It would be unwise to assume these fears are exaggerated merely because other high-profile diseases over the years have not taken hold in the way they might have done. Failure by employers to take sensible and timely precautions to prepare for the worst could expose their organisation to claims and avoidable financial losses.

Anthony Sakrouge appears in People Management answering key questions on imposing new safety rules, dealing with staff too anxious to come to the office and changing working hours. 

What are the legal implications of coronavirus for employers? is available to read on the People Management website. 

Anthony is head of the employment team. He acts for both employers and employees, specialising in contentious work and negotiations relating to the complex starting and leaving packages of directors and other senior employees.