Coronavirus Hub

The latest guidance for business

The latest guidance for businesses like yours across a number of different areas. Understand more about how your business can respond and what support is available. 



Most frequently asked questions



What are the things to keep on top of responding to coronavirus in 2021?

  • Ensure governance and HR teams are familiar with government advice for employers
  • Understanding each step of the roadmap out of lockdown and how restrictions impact your business and your employees. 
  • Communicate the latest information with employees, providing government advice as relevant for your business
  • Support those who are vulnerable and the mental health of staff during the pandemic
  • Reach out to the CBI to communicate any specific concerns or impacts of coronavirus on your company, for communication to the government’s response teams. You can send insight to the CBI’s Covid Support inbox at coronavirussupport@cbi.org.uk
  • Check your business has considered all the Frequently Asked Questions and takes proportionate actions to manage coronavirus.

What is the government’s Return to Work policy and how does it impact my business?

  • As set out in government guidance, offices and contact centres can open under all steps, if they're COVID secure. Office workers should continue to work from home where they can.
  • Following the publication of the roadmap out of lockdown, office workers should work from home if they can. This guidance will remain in until at least step four of the roadmap, when the work from home guidance will be considered as part of the wider review on social distancing.
  • Employers should ensure workplaces are safe for anyone who cannot work from home.
  • Office workers who can work from home should do so. Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work. However, employers should consider whether home working is appropriate for workers facing mental or physical health difficulties, or those with a particularly challenging home working environment.

What does my business need to know about the testing landscape for coronavirus?

  • Testing, tracing, and isolating are a core part of the UK’s toolkit in the fight against COVID-19, and are likely to remain so even as the vaccine is rolled out.
  • There are a variety of different COVID-19 tests available, with trade-offs between accuracy, pace, cost, and usability – which may impact which scenarios or workplace settings they are most suitable for. These can often depend on whether tests are point-of-care or lab analysed.
  • Businesses registered in England of any size can sign up to the government’s asymptomatic testing scheme for employees who cannot work from home. Eligible firms, including those that are yet to open, must register their interest by 12 April to receive lateral flow tests for staff in bulk and free of charge until 30 June. There are also more sector-specific free testing schemes in WalesScotland, and Northern Ireland
  • From 6 April, government will make rapid home testing available for businesses in England with over 10 employees who cannot offer on-site testing. Work is also underway to allow staff of smaller businesses to order tests online to be sent to employees’ homes. 
  • Beyond the government testing scheme, most businesses can engage with third-party providers rather than building an in-house testing system from scratch. Government expects employers using third-party testing providers to ensure that they meet the legal and regulatory requirements set out in its guidance for employers and third-party healthcare providers.
  • To guide employers in their choices, the government has published a list of private testing providers who have declared that they meet the standards for private sector providers of COVID-19 testing – including reporting results to Public Health England (PHE), and having the relevant systems in place to report adverse incidents.

What does my business need to know about the vaccine?

How far can employers go with regards to vaccine requirements and promotion?

This is a live topic which will be informed by the government’s forthcoming COVID-Status Certification review. The review is exploring how testing and vaccination data could play a role in reopening the UK economy, reducing restrictions on social contact, and improving safety. The CBI has fed into the review, highlighting principles that should underpin any certification scheme. This includes the need for certificates to be based on proof of either a vaccine or negative test, given the sensitivity of vaccinations and testing data, and how it interacts with employment law and people’s fundamental human rights.

In general, employers cannot make having a vaccine a condition of work, and simplistic ‘no jab, no job’ policies will almost certainly be illegal. Requiring staff to have a vaccine on health and safety grounds could be permissible, but only in certain sectors or jobs, and in parallel with other legal obligations. Employers should make reasonable adjustments so that staff can continue to safely perform their role if they are unable or unwilling to be vaccinated.

ACAS recommends that employers support staff in getting the coronavirus vaccine, for example by giving them time off work to attend a vaccination appointment. Employers can play a role sharing the benefits of the vaccine with their employees. They should speak with staff about their approach and any employee concerns where appropriate. For the latest guidance on this topic, visit the ACAS website.

Where can I find details about the financial support available for my business?

  • Find information about the different financial support schemes, and see which ones your business is eligible for.
  • The government have created a coronavirus business support finder tool. By completing a simple questionnaire, the tool will signpost you to relevant government financial support available.

How long is the Job Retention Scheme extended until and how does it work?

  • As part of the Budget on 3 March, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the extension of the Job Retention Scheme (JRS)  until the end of September 2021. The JRS was due to run out at the end of April 2021.
  • The scheme will run until the end of June 2021 in its current format, and then from July, the government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September. 
  • Employers will continue to be required to pay staff’s wages, National Insurance Contributions and pensions for hours worked, as well as NICS and pensions for hours not worked. Part-time furloughing of employees continues to be possible and employers can agree any working arrangements with their employees. 
  • More information is available on the CBI’s COVID-19 business financial support factsheet.

How should businesses support flexible working for employees who can work from home?

  • The government has asked all employees to work from home unless it is impossible for them to do so. Businesses should therefore support flexible working as much as reasonably possible when working remotely.
  • Employers should encourage managers and employees with caring responsibilities to speak about any additional flexibility they may need during the day. This could be allowing employees to work reduced hours or flex their hours to work around their caring arrangements.
  • Employers should be sympathetic to any distractions that may arise at home, such as children or pets moving around or making noise.
  • Employees’ performance and productivity should be reasonably appraised while working at home, and businesses should consider relaxing performance management where appropriate.
  • Read the CBI’s latest article on the role businesses play in supporting employees to look after their loved ones as the pandemic rolls on.
  • The CBI has published a factsheet on employee engagement for virtual teams – from onboarding to performance reviews and collaboration.

How should businesses support flexible working for employees who cannot work from home?

  • Employers should adapt their practices to observe a distance of at least two metres between individuals wherever possible.
  • Employers should consider staggering shifts and processes to enable staff to continue operating both effectively and at a safe distance wherever possible. Find out more about flexible working options on gov.uk.
  • As well as ensuring the health and safety of staff, these practices can increase opportunities for more flexible working. Depending on the nature of the business, employers are considering the following practices:
    • Time-banking to allow workers to ‘accrue hours’ to take as time off at a later date, outside of their usual shift pattern
    • Introducing condensed shift patterns whereby employees are able to work their total contracted hours over fewer working days
    • Leveraging annualised hours contracts, by allowing workers to reduce the number of hours they’re working during the pandemic but still work the same number of total hours over the year
    • Splitting teams so that operations run below full capacity at any given time
    • Enabling individuals to take annual leave during this period.
  • Employers can also furlough staff who cannot work due to caring responsibilities resulting from COVID-19, including childcare.
  • Government and financial support

    Covering topics including tax payments, support for the self-employed, the Job Retention Scheme and commercial tenancies.

    Find out more
  • Employment

    Covering topics including supporting staff at risk of redundancy, pension schemes, holidays, migrant workers and SSP. 

    Find out more
  • Meetings, travel and events

    Answering your questions about external meetings, travel nationally and internationally, and how to help employees stuck abroad.

    Find out more
  • Cleaning and health in the workplace

    Addressing topics including what to do if staff or visitors become unwell, and workplace cleaning guidance.

    Find out more
  • Supply chain

    Find out more about how other companies are managing disruption to their supply chains.

    Find out more

CBI factsheets

Always up-to-date with the latest information and insights, our factsheets can help inform your business response.



Case studies

How have other businesses risen to the challenges posed by COVID-19?



External resources

Quick links to the resources you need to coordinate your response