“Pingdemic” leads to staff shortage: here’s what to do next

“Pingdemic” leads to staff shortage: we take a look at possible solutions for businesses and employees who have to self-isolate.

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

Female Owner Of Start Up Coffee Shop Or Restaurant Turning Round Open Sign On Door

Image source: Getty Images

When investing, your capital is at risk. The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you put in.

Read More

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, any form of personal advice. Investments in a currency other than sterling are exposed to currency exchange risk. Currency exchange rates are constantly changing, which may affect the value of the investment in sterling terms. You could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, and may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection as in the UK.

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More.

Pings from the NHS Covid-19 app advising people to self-isolate are intended to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. But employers are complaining that this ‘pingdemic’ is resulting in staff shortages.

Though it’s not clear whether this is a legal requirement, pinged employees need to self-isolate for 10 days. This means that businesses may lose 10 days’ work if crucial employees self-isolate, especially where it isn’t possible to work from home. We take a look at possible solutions for businesses and employees who have to quarantine.


What should you do if pinged by the NHS app?

If pinged by the NHS (National Health Service) app, you’re required to self-isolate for 10 days. Basically, a ping means that you’ve been near someone who has tested positive, and you might have contracted the virus. As a result, you may need to get tested.

You should notify your employer about the ping and share the notification. This will help your employer make a plan for you and the business. You may have four options:

  1. Work from home if it’s possible
  2. Take paid holiday leave
  3. Receive contractual sick pay
  4. Get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re eligible

According to the gov.uk website, in certain limited situations, fully vaccinated employees identified as contacts may be able to leave self-isolation to undertake critical work.

How should employers treat pinged employees?

If an employee is told to self-isolate by NHS app and their employer allows them to come into work, the firm could face a fine of £1,000 or more.

It’s the employer’s responsibility to make arrangements for working from home, if possible, and ensure employees get paid during the self-isolation days. It’s also important that employers make workers aware of the support available to help them self-isolate.


How can businesses respond to the pingdemic?

Employers have been hit hard by the pingdemic. Staff shortages have seen some businesses close, while others are clutching at straws. This calls for precautions and innovation.

  • Make changes in the workplace – just because restrictions have been lifted, it doesn’t mean the pandemic has ended. Employers and employees may need to stick to the Covid-19 protocols introduced in the early days of the pandemic. This might reduce the number of pings.
  • Utilise available employees – an employee working in a department that isn’t involving could take up the responsibilities of a self-isolated employee.
  • Partner with employment agencies – where working at home isn’t possible, employers could source staff from employment agencies. This could guarantee a continuous supply of employees.
  • Set up isolation funds – it’s always best to save money for a rainy day. In this case, the fund would cater for any monetary requirements brought about by employee isolation. A lack of such a fund could lead to business closure, especially when short-staffed.

If needed, employers could try accessing a business loan. If they’re not eligible for the loan, then perhaps a business credit card could help.

While the pingdemic is taking its toll on businesses in England, there is some good news! The government is making progress in setting up Covid testing areas. From 16 August, those who are fully vaccinated – and unvaccinated under-18s – can take PCR tests instead of self-isolating, if pinged.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

More on Personal Finance

Note paper with question mark on orange background
Personal Finance

Should you invest your ISA in a model portfolio?

Which model ISA portfolios offer both high performance and low fees? Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor and AJ Bell go under…

Read more »

Economic Uncertainty Ahead Sign With Stormy Background
Personal Finance

Is it time to exit emerging markets investments?

Investors may well be sitting on losses from emerging markets funds. Is it worth keeping the faith for a sustained…

Read more »

Personal Finance

Share trading? Three shares with turnaround potential

Share trading has been difficult in 2022, but which companies have turnaround potential? Jo Groves takes a closer look at…

Read more »

Man using credit card and smartphone for purchasing goods online.
Personal Finance

Revealed! Why Gen Z may be the savviest generation when it comes to credit cards

New research reveals that Gen Z may be the most astute when it comes to credit cards. But why? And…

Read more »

Environmental technology concept.
Personal Finance

The 10 best-performing sectors for ISA investors

The best-performing sectors over the past year invested in real assets such as infrastructure, but is this trend set to…

Read more »

Road sign warning of a risk ahead
Personal Finance

Recession risk ‘on the rise’: is it time for investors to worry?

A major global bank has suggested the risk of a recession in the UK is 'on the rise'. So, should…

Read more »

pensive bearded business man sitting on chair looking out of the window
Personal Finance

1 in 4 cutting back on investments amid cost of living crisis

New research shows one in four investors have cut back on their investing contributions to cope with the rising cost…

Read more »

Image of person checking their shares portfolio on mobile phone and computer
Personal Finance

The 10 most popular stocks among UK investors so far this year

As the new tax year kicks off, here's a look at some of the most popular stocks among UK investors…

Read more »