Businesses could insist their staff download the soon to be released NHS coronavirus tracking app or risk losing their jobs, advises Darlington firm, HR2day.

The HR provider has already been approached by employers enquiring whether it would be within their rights to amend contracts to include use of the app.

The app, which is currently being trailed on the Isle of Wight, uses Bluetooth to send alerts to anyone who has come into recent contact with someone reporting to be symptomatic.

It is designed to help the population feel more reassured once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

As many businesses have been impacted by employees working from home or furloughed, a second wave of the virus could be potentially devastating. Many businesses are currently exploring making active use of the app a health and safety condition in workers’ contracts.

Nicky Jolley, founder and managing director of HR2day, said: “Health and safety law is, of course, a very complex subject and something of a movable feast as things change and develop, so I don’t see why making a change to firm’s policies in this way would be any different to asking staff to adhere to stringent hand hygiene policies or wearing PPE.

“Concerns could be raised if there is any suggestion that data accessed by the app is not secure and that this could put people at risk of their information being shared inappropriately.

“The government would need to ensure that these fears are addressed before the app is launched on a wider scale if it’s going to be effective at all, not just as a tool for employers to use to keep their staff safe.

“Employers should always be open in communicating and consulting with staff to explain their reasoning, rather than laying down the law, and listen to their employees’ thoughts and feelings about what is happening. This will help them to get buy in and may mean less resistance.”

Nicky added: “Terminating employment for any reason is a strong action to take and you should always look at the terms of a contract before this is discussed. If you are unsure about whether disciplinary action or dismissal is the right course of action, you should speak with an HR or legal professional.”