25% of UK firms still have no business contingency plan in place to deal with the coronavirus outbreak

A fifth of UK organisations still have no business contingency plan in place to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, according to research by the CIPD and People Management magazine.

This is almost half the number of businesses without a plan just over two weeks ago, but experts said the figure showed many companies still have not “fully grasped the seriousness” of the outbreak. Earlier in March, nearly 40% of firms admitted they were unprepared.

People Management and the CIPD polled HR professionals earlier this month to find out what they were doing in their organisations to deal with the threats posed to the health of employees and their businesses. After running this initial survey, People Management ran a second to find out how employers had developed or changed their response as the crisis unfolded.

The poll also asked employers about their overall level of preparedness for a pandemic. Half of respondents said they had a comprehensive or reasonably comprehensive level of pandemic preparedness in their organisations before the outbreak, a number that remained the same across both surveys.

The CIPD poll also found improvement in the number of employers that had a plan in place for if one of their employees tested positive for coronavirus. While 16 per cent of employers responding to the second survey still did not have a plan in place, this was down from 33 per cent. 

Nearly half (45 per cent) said they would send home any staff who came into direct contact with the at-risk employee, which was unchanged since the first survey. A quarter (28 per cent) would allow employees to self-isolate if they were concerned, and a similar number (27 per cent) would immediately close the site the infected employee attended.