VIRUS: PVCA issues continuity guidance if staff sick

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Print industry association PVCA is issuing members with business continuity guidance, which it says will enable printers to keep supplying jobs to their clients if their staff are unable to work.

PVCA guidance: What to do if staff sick

PVCA says the guidance and associated contract will enable print businesses to outsource their work in the event of virus-created staff shortages, while keeping their IP and client relations.

Andrew Macaulay, CEO at PVCA said, “PVCA has prepared an industry business continuity contract that printers may use to swiftly outsource their production yet retain ownership of their IP and customer relationships.

Using clusters of printers under this contract, SME printers who do not have the staff numbers to create fall back teams within their own operations will be able to create a hive of safe production alternatives.”

In a letter to members the PVCA says:

Dear member,

As the Australian economy responds to the effect of CoVid-19 and the spread of the virus, there is increasing likelihood that your business may need to spend some time with staff in quarantine.

If this happens you may have to close operations for the duration of the quarantine period, which is a minimum of 14 days.

Your association is offering a free service to all members, to assist you if you need to distribute production due to CoVid-19 quarantine shutdown.

We have prepared a contract that will protect your Intellectual Property and Customer relationship, to give you confidence should you need to swiftly outsource your production due to quarantine shutdown.

Your association is also able to facilitate introduction to an appropriate fellow printer, should you want to make the transfer out of your commercial operating area.

PVCA has also prepared the following Business Continuity planning guideline and checklist, for your use.

Please use the PVCA IR hotline at any time, if you need assistance.

We will continue to keep you informed of Government assistance that may be available, and on any developments with CoVid-19 management.


Andrew Macaulay


Preparing for and responding to a COVID-19 Outbreak

Business continuity planning

This document has been prepared for members of the Print & Visual Communication Association, as a service to members.

Members of the PVCA are also entitled to IR and HR advice, via our hotline.

PVCA has also instituted a new service for members in response to the CoVid-19. This service will facilitate members production sharing in the event of business quarantine and shutdown.

  • PVCA will facilitate clusters of printer businesses to provide production backup in the event of business quarantine.

  • PVCA legal teams have developed a contract, free for members, to protect IP and customers, but enable swift handover of operations so customer service is maintained.

Some of the immediate actions which members should consider taking if they have not already done so are:

  • Undertake a risk and vulnerability assessment that identifies, amongst other things, possible pandemic scenarios;

  • Undertake a business impact analysis that identifies critical business activities that would need to be continued or restored during/after a business disruption event as well as the resources required to do so;

  • Prepare a business continuity plan;

  • Communicate to staff the requirements of the business continuity plan and test the plan; and

  • Work through the requirements of their pandemic response checklist or schedule.

Key Things to Remember 

1. Put People First

The health and well-being of your employees is your top concern. It’s possible that CoVid-19 will sicken some employees and force others into quarantine. Address their immediate needs first, and then begin to think about operations with a remote workforce. It is critical to establish a strategy that enables employees to continue to function without endangering them. You’ll want to verify that you have the tools, technology, capacity, and security measures in place to support a large remote workforce. It may also be necessary to offer greater flexibility to normal working expectations.

2. Assemble Your Leadership Team

A BCP is only as effective as the people who put it into action. Thus it’s critically important to be specific about who will be directly involved, from the plan’s owner to those it affects. Getting these people on board during the planning stages can help with creating a stronger, clearer plan and a consistent message. Appoint at least one Point Person or selected team members to devise a response strategy and coordinate pandemic readiness activities. It may also be necessary to identify backup personnel.

A note of caution: while others may be involved in the plan’s execution, it’s imperative that the most senior leadership is involved—and seen as involved—in the company’s decision-making. This will help to quell any fear and misinformation that can arise in such scenarios.

3. Communicate

When faced with a catastrophe, people want clear, straightforward steps that they can follow and know they’ve covered their bases. It’s best to leave as little to interpretation as possible, and considering diverse perspectives will help make the plan as detailed and clear as needs warrant. Create a communications plan that includes providing employees and customers with regular situation updates as well as actions taken. Take care to ground your communications in verifiable news sources, such as the the Australian Federal Government Ministry of Health.

For an example to use in your own communication strategy, we have attached a DRAFT letter that you may amend for use in your business.

4. Review Existing Plans

Before taking any action, pause to review your existing Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans. If they’re sufficiently thorough, they should address a variety of contingencies that could disrupt the firm’s businesses, including potential pandemics. It is likely that a playbook for viral outbreak scenarios is already in place, but it should be sufficiently flexible and reflect the firm's size, complexity, and business activities. It will ensure the firm’s process and controls are identified and followed during a pandemic event.

5. Prioritize Key Business Functions

Next you’ll want to assess your business processes, determine which areas are vulnerable, map dependencies, and estimate the potential losses if those processes go down for a given amount of time—from hours to weeks or more. You can start by identifying the critical products and services your company delivers and the customers or clients they are delivered to. This will help with prioritizing those parts of the BCP that pertain to the business’s most high-value assets, functions, and relationships. Understanding the financial impact of down time due to CoVid-19.


Business Continuity Planning Checklist 

The following is a checklist of some of the key risks to the continuity of your business activities during any outbreak of CoVid-19 and of preparatory actions that can be taken to respond.

Many of the actions are the same as you would have prepared during any type of similar threat such as preparations for influenza pandemics.

Your organisation should consider appointing a planning coordinator and/or team with defined responsibilities and budget for planning and for preparedness.

A deputy should also be appointed. If your organisation already has a business continuity planning process, you should consider addressing CoVid-19 within that process.

The list is comprehensive, and will cover some things that are not relevant to all members. Ignore those items. Conversely, you may have a unique aspect of your business that is not covered by this list. Consider that in your planning.

Planning activities

  • 1.1 Assign responsibility for planning and preparedness to a senior executive and a deputy
  • 1.2 Obtain information on pandemic influenza
  • 1.3 Consult within the company, with workers and worker representatives
  • 1.4 Consult with suppliers on measures they are taking and on potential disruptions to supply chains
  • 1.5 Assess ‘high level’ impact on your business and attach appropriate priority to the planning process
  • 1.6 Develop a business continuity plan
  • 1.7 Establish authorities, triggers and procedures for implementing plan
  • 1.8 Test the plan in exercises
  • 1.9 Share best practice with other businesses
  • 1.10 Revisit plan periodically Business Continuity

Business issues to address

  • 2.1 Identify critical activities and the employees and inputs required to maintain them
  • 2.2 Consider the possible impact of employee absences
  • 2.3 Consider the possible impact of disruption to the supply of inputs from suppliers in Ireland and overseas suppliers
  • 2.4 Examine the likely impact of a pandemic on your market and on your customers’ requirements
  • 2.5 Identify and agree strategic imperatives
  • 2.6 Understand the business need for face-to-face meetings during a pandemic. Consider the potential for remote working.
  • 2.7 Establish authorities, triggers and procedures for implementing plan
  • 2.8 Consider the issues for business related travel during a pandemic
  • 2.9 Consider the financial management implications of a pandemic
  • 2.10 Examine the extent to which others will be dependent on your business in the event of a pandemic
  • 2.11 Consider the circumstances under which you might decide to scale back or suspend operations during a pandemic

Measures to underpin continuity

  • 3.1 Nominate deputies
  • 3.2 Cross-train, and identify alternative sources of labour
  • 3.3 Communicate with staff in a manner appropriate to the current state of the pandemic alert
  • 3.4 Prepare emergency communications plan
  • 3.5 Plan for increased take-up of employee welfare services
  • 3.6 Prepare policies on sick leave and compassionate leave during a pandemic
  • 3.7 Prepare policies on foreign travel during a pandemic
  • 3.8 Plan for the needs of staff overseas
  • 3.9 Make arrangements to assure supplies in the event of a pandemic
  • 3.10 Consider the possibility of changes to your product, your service, or your interaction with customers, during a pandemic, and plan for any changes you consider appropriate
  • 3.11 Review insurance coverage

Responding to workplace risks in a pandemic

  • 4.1 Prepare policies on hygienic behaviour for employees and visitors to premises during a pandemic
  • 4.2 Plan to provide for hand washing, hand hygiene, tissue disposal and other facilities
  • 4.3 Plan for frequent and effective cleaning of the workplace
  • 4.4 Prepare policies on attendance by employees who are infected, or are suspected to be infected, with influenza
  • 4.5 Plan measures to reduce face-to-face contact with customers / suppliers and between employees from different sites
  • 4.6 Identify work organisation measures that can be taken to reduce potential for employees who are in the workplace to infect each other
  • 4.7 Prepare policies on flexible work locations (e.g. teleworking) and flexible working times (e.g. shiftworking)
  • 4.8 Provide ICT infrastructure to support teleworking and remote customer interaction
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