New guidance released today from the UK government announced a number of measures needed on UK’s ‘road-map to return’ to work. Following on from the Prime Minister’s announcement (Sunday 10 May, 2020) the new guidance – Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy offers some more detail as to who should return to work:
As an overview, the headline points for employers to be taken from the guidance are as follows:
- ‘For the foreseeable future workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible’.
- According to Annex A ‘your employer should support you to find reasonable adjustments to do this’.
- ‘All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open’.
- ‘As soon as practicable’ workplaces should follow ‘COVID-19 Secure’ guidelines – new safety guidelines that set out how each type of workplace can be adapted to operate safely to be released ‘this week’.
- In the workplace the number of people that an individual comes into contact with regularly should be limited.
- Examples given of changing shift patterns and rotas ‘to match you with the same team each time and splitting people into smaller, contained teams’.
- Making adjustments to the workplace to enable maintaining of social distance.
- Ensuring indoor work areas are well ventilated areas.
- Allowing the use of more entrances and exits and staggering entry and exits where possible.
- Cleaning of communal surfaces such as door handles and lift buttons and communal areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and tea points.
- Avoiding crowds including avoiding peak travel times if you have to use public transport. Walking or cycling to work where possible.
- ‘Face coverings’ to be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not possible.
- Annex A reiterates the duty of employers to ‘assess and manage risks to your safety in the workplace.’ It refers to guidance being issued to employers to help employees do this. (Annex A not attached, so we assume this will follow shortly).
- Sectors encouraged to re-open include:
- Food production
- Scientific research in laboratories
- Sectors that MUST remain closed include:
- Hospitality and non-essential retail
- Nannies and child-minders can return to work.
- ‘The government is examining more stringent enforcement measures for non-compliance’ and will impose ‘higher fines’ as people return to work.
Find out more from Julian Cox, head of employment law, London here.