Government's plan to rebuild COVID-19 recovery strategy

11 May 2020

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
    • Construction
    • Manufacturing
    • Logistics
    • Distribution
    • 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.

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Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to clients of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.

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Julian Cox

Julian Cox

Partner and Head of Employment Practice Group,

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