Useful Information

The latest information and updates are fast changing, but the following may be useful for your business:-

 

Public Health


Guidance from Public Health EnglandNHS ScotlandPublic Health Wales and Public Health Agency Northern Ireland
Government guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus
Government Full guidance on staying at home and away from others and Stay at home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection
Country-by-country breakdown of immigration restrictions and concessions linked to the coronavirus outbreak.
Government guidance: Further businesses and premises to close
Doctors of the World have produced Coronavirus advice for patients in 20 languages
 

Employment Guidance


Annual Leave - Due to Coronavirus, the government is relaxing the rules on holiday leave. Workers will be able to carry over any unused statutory annual leave into the next two leave years. The government will amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 to reflect this. 
Read the latest government guidance here

Right to work checks - The government has announced temporary adjustments to right to work checks, making it easier for employers to recruit during the COVID-19 outbreak. Employers and recruiters can now:- 
  • carry out checks over video call
  • accept scanned documents or photos of documents as evidence
  • use the Home Office Employer Checking Service if a prospective/existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents
These temporary changes take into consideration the challenges of recruiting remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Further guidance can be found here
 

 
Key Workers - Keep up to date with the list of the government’s approved key workers here.


Relaxation of driver hours for all sectors – The Department for Transport has introduced a temporary relaxation of the enforcement of GB and EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales for all sectors from 23 March to 21 April 2020 allowing for longer hours on a daily, weekly and fortnightly basis, and postponement of the requirement to start a weekly rest period. The Department for Transport has published this guidance: and these further details.

Working Time Directive – Existing exemptions within the Working Time Regulations 1998 provide flexibility where the worker’s activities are affected by unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond the employer’s control, or exceptional events the consequences of which could not have been avoided despite the exercise of all due care by the employer (regulation 21(e)). Where this applies, the requirements around rest breaks, daily and weekly rest and night work do not apply. However the employer must provide compensatory rest, or if this is not possible take other measures to ensure a safe working environment.’

Workers returning from abroad – Workers who are currently outside the UK and want to return to work can access the governments travel advice pages to find information about travelling to and from other countries, including the restrictions they may have in place.

Workplace Canteens – The guidance states: ‘Where there are no practical alternatives, other workplace canteens can remain open to provide food for their staff and/or provide a space for breaks. However, where possible, staff should be encouraged to bring their own food, and distributors should move to takeaway. Measures should be taken to minimise the number of people in the canteen at any one given time, for example by using a rota.’

Face masks at work – See Public Health England guidance – “Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals but there’s very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical settings.”

Acas Coronavirus advice for employers and employees

Universal Credit and Benefits Claims – People can make applications for benefits online if they are eligible – https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit. People receiving benefits will continue to receive these but do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for three months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020. Jobcentres remain open, and will continue to support people who are not able to use phones and online, including homeless people. No-one should attend a jobcentre unless directed to do so for an exceptional purpose. Those already claiming Universal Credit who think they may be affected by coronavirus, should contact their work coach as soon as possible by using their online journal or calling the Universal Credit helpline.
 
Support for Business

Government Covid-19 Support for Business gives information on grants and schemes with businesses may qualify for.