Commercial Insurance Profile – February 2021

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Preventing Harassment and Bullying Among Remote Workers

Organisations are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. In the midst of another coronavirus lockdown, working remotely continues to be a requirement for many employees. Additionally, it is expected that even after the pandemic passes, remote work will continue to be common. With that in mind, employers must strive to ensure that they are also providing a proper work environment, even in a remote setting.

Harassment and bullying have long been prevalent problems in workplaces. These actions can have negative effects on both the victim and the organisation. The employee may suffer from mental health issues – such as low self-esteem – as well as decreased productivity. Meanwhile, for employers, bullying and harassment can not only lead to the loss of a valuable team member, but also costly legal action. Employers should work to prevent these issues at all levels of their organisation through the following actions:

  • Organisational leadership should review policies related to harassment and bullying. Policies should specifically address cyber-bullying and other means of misconduct that might occur through electronic means. If changes are made in order to address remote workers, consider scheduling mandatory training for all employees.
  • Managers should revisit organisational bullying and harassment policies with employees. Furthermore, it should be regularly reinforced that workers are encouraged to come forward and report any harassment or bullying.
  • Employees should be reminded that, although they may have additional flexibility while working from home, they are still held to the same behavioural standards when interacting with colleagues. Make sure employees understand that the cadence and tone of a comment made face-to-face may be misunderstood when made in written text. The resulting misinterpretation could be misconstrued as bullying or harassment.

Inappropriate conduct within a workplace can lead to serious issues for all parties. It is imperative that, even in a remote environment, employers take ample steps to ensure that their workers feel safe.


Understanding the New Brexit Deal

Following a significant amount of suspense spanning much of 2020, the UK and EU finally reached a trade agreement on 24th December 2020. This new deal will regulate how many UK organisations across a variety of sectors will be conducting business with partners and clients in the EU.

As far as trade considerations go, employers should be aware of these aspects of the new agreement:

  • No extra tariffs will be implemented for goods being imported or exported between the UK and the EU.
  • No limits will be imposed as it pertains to the number of goods that can be traded between the UK and the EU.
  • Professional qualifications between the UK and EU—such as those of doctors and nurses—will no longer receive automatic recognition.

Many organisations will also have to familiarise themselves with the travel implications of the new agreement. Key elements that should be considered include:

  • A visa will be now required for UK citizens to be able to live, work, study or start a business in the EU.
  • Border checks will be longer for UK travellers.
  • A visa of longer than 90 days will be required if a UK national intends to visit the EU for longer than 180 days.
  • International mobile roaming rates will remain ‘fair and transparent’, but UK travellers may still be subject to additional charges while in the EU.
  • European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) will continue to grant UK travellers access to emergency health care until their expiration dates. After expiration, UK Global Health Insurance Cards will serve as replacements.

In addition to these key points, there are many other changes that organisations must understand about trade and travel between the UK and EU.

Contact your Konsileo broker today for more information on these topics.

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