Guidance on the NHS test and trace service for employers, businesses and workers:
There will be a significant impact on employees and the self-employed who are asked to self-isolate if they have symptoms of the virus, or if others in their household do, or if they take time off sick with the virus.
The Government guidance for employees linked below includes the following:
The document below - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Financial Fact Sheet - includes advice for employees, self-employed, businesses.
The Government has launched a new ‘support finder’ tool which will help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them.
For more details, please visit this link
Watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus here
Going to work / Safer spaces - from Thursday 5th November
Who is allowed to go to work?
In the first instance, employers should make every effort to support working from home, including by providing suitable IT and equipment as they have been already. This will apply to many different types of businesses, particularly those who typically would have worked in offices or online.
Where work can only be done in the workplace, we have set out tailored guidelines for employers to help protect their workforce and customers from coronavirus while still continuing to trade or getting their business back up and running. We will be publishing even more detailed COVID-19 secure guidelines in the coming days, which has been developed in consultation with businesses and trades unions.
These guidelines apply to those in essential retail like:
- those in construction and manufacturing
- those working in labs and research facilities
- those administering takeaways and deliveries at restaurants and cafes
- tradesmen, cleaners and others who work in people’s homes
- those who are facilitating trade or transport goods
- and so on
Non-essential retail, restaurants, pubs, bars, gyms and leisure centres will remain closed. They will reopen in a phased manner provided it is safe to do so.
There are specific guidelines for those who are vulnerable or showing symptoms.
What is a critical worker?
Critical workers are those working in health and care and other essential services, who can still take their children to school or childcare and can use hotels and other accommodation services for work related purposes - for example if they can’t get home after a shift or need to isolate from their families. This critical worker definition does not affect whether or not you can travel to work – if you are not a critical worker, you may still travel to work provided if you cannot reasonably work from home.
Do people need to wear face coverings at work?
Face coverings are not compulsory. However, if you can, people are advised to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not possible or where you are more likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet. For example, on public transport or in some shops. Face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.
A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers; these should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace such as health and care workers and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.
Will a face covering stop me getting COVID-19?
The evidence suggests that face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.
To protect yourself, you should continue to follow social distancing measures and isolation guidance and wash your hands regularly.
My employer is asking me to come to work but I’m scared.
Employers and staff should discuss and agree working arrangements.
Employers should make all efforts to help people to work from home where they can. But where work cannot be done at home, employers should take clear, practical steps to help protect workers and create safe places to work, such as shift working or staggering processes. To identify the precautions needed to manage risk, your employer should discuss the workplace risk assessment with you to identify the practical ways of managing those risks.
If you remain concerned that your employer is not taking all practical steps to promote social distancing then you can report this to your local authority or the Health and Safety Executive who can take a range of action, including where appropriate requiring your employer to take additional steps.
We are publishing further specific “COVID-19 Secure” guidelines on how to make workplaces safe, which have been developed in consultation with over 200 business leaders and trades union organisations.
What if they try to fire me because I won’t go to work but cannot work at home?
We urge employers to take socially responsible decisions and listen to the concerns of their staff. Employers and employees should come to a pragmatic agreement about their working arrangements.
If individuals need advice, they should approach ACAS where they can get impartial advice about work disputes.
Employers have a duty to assess and manage risks to your safety in the workplace. The government has issued guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus. This includes guidance on how to make adjustments to your workplace to help you maintain social distancing.
It also includes guidance on hygiene, as evidence suggests that the virus can exist for up to 72 hours on surfaces. Therefore, frequent cleaning is particularly important for communal surfaces like:
- door handles
- lift buttons
- communal areas like bathrooms
- tea points
You can see the guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus on gov.uk and can ask your employer if you have questions.
Safety in the Workplace
The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.
These 8 guides cover a range of different types of work and can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19
Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
On the 5th November, the Chancellor has announced that CJRS will be extended until the end of March 2021 for all parts of the UK. For claim periods running to 31 January 2021, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The UK Government will review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.
It was also confirmed that the Job Retention Bonus (JRB) will no longer be paid in February 2021, as CJRS will be available at that time. An alternative retention incentive will be put in place at the appropriate time.
Employers in Brentwood and Ongar
Claiming from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
If employers intend to claim under the CJRS, they should look at information published today on how you can check if you’re eligible to claim, and what you need to agree with your employees.
This latest information applies for CJRS claim periods from 1 November 2020. The final date for claims for the period up to 31 October is still 30 November 2020.
The full guidance for claims from November onwards, including more information on how to calculate a claim, will be published on GOV.UK on Tuesday 10th November, and we’ll send you another update to confirm this. Claims can be made from 11 November 2020.
Support for the Self-Employed
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Grant Extension
On the 5th November, the Chancellor announced that the UK Government is increasing the overall level of the next SEISS grant from 55% to 80% of trading profits.
This grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. The UK Government will pay a taxable grant which is based on 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500.
The SEISS Grant Extension will last for six months in total, from 1 November 2020 to 30 April 2021. A further grant will cover February to April, as grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period. The Government will set out further details, including the level of that grant, in due course.
Full details on how your constituents can check if they are eligible for the current grant and how to claim will be published on GOV.UK w/c 23 November.
For up-to-date information regarding what support is available, please click here.
Updated 6th November 2020