Commercial Insurance Profile – December 2021

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New Climate Disclosure Agreements

In 2019, the UK became the first major economy to commit in law to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In 2021, the government went further by targeting a 78% cut in emissions by 2035, compared to 1990 levels. In addition, 70% of the UK public want their money to go towards making a positive difference to people or the planet, (according to GOV.UK). With the high demand for sustainable products, organisations must respond by growing in responsible ways.

To help the UK achieve its emission goals, the government has recently published its greening finance roadmap, which sets out the new Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDRs) in more detail. SDRs go beyond the usual disclosures a business is obliged to make. They require publication of information relating to sustainability-related risks, opportunities and impacts.

SDRs build on the existing Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and will cover three types of disclosures:

  • Corporate disclosure—New requirements for companies, including those in the financial services sector, to make sustainability disclosures
  • Asset manager and asset owner disclosure—New requirements for those that manage or administer assets on behalf of clients and consumers (including occupational pension schemes) to disclose how they take sustainability into account
  • Investment product disclosure—New requirements for creators of investment products

SDRs aim to streamline business disclosures, using the same framework and metrics across the economy. SDRs will help ensure a clear and direct link from investors—through the financial system—to the businesses they are invested in and their relationship with the environment.

Specific reporting requirements, including scope, timing and detail, will be developed following public consultation.


Understanding COVID-19 Self-Isolation Best Practices

Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 laws have continually changed, making it difficult for both employers and employees to keep up. However, being up to date with self-isolation rules is essential.

It’s an offence for an employer to allow a self-isolating worker to breach their isolation for work purposes; it carries a penalty of up to £10,000. Self-isolation requires a person to remain at home because they have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19). They mustn’t go out in public to exercise and must have any essentials—like food and medicine—delivered.

Currently, employees must self-isolate for 10 days if they:

  • Have tested positive for COVID-19
  • Have any of the three main symptoms—a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; a loss or change in their sense of smell or taste—however mild
  • Have been notified by NHS Test and Trace
  • Have been in contact with someone who has tested positive – the guidance on this has changed recently due to the new Omicron variant. The government is set to review these measures every three weeks.

Employers have a duty to provide a safe system of work for their staff, so it’s wise to educate workers on the importance of self-isolation. Self-isolating workers are legally obliged to inform their employers of the start and end dates of any isolation period, but they may be reluctant to do so if their income will be affected. Employers should consider allowing isolating employees to work remotely where possible.

Employees are not legally required to inform their employer if they’re a close contact of a positive case. Even so, employers should establish a formal policy to encourage employees to disclose close contacts and dictate how they will be managed. Workers could be asked to work remotely or take extra precautions.

For further information about educating employees on self-isolation practices, contact us today.

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