25.03.2020

UK issues guidance on going to work

In the UK following guidance has been issued today by the government:

Please find below the latest guidance on working during the current period of restrictions that was published on .GOV last night. A link to the published guidance on .GOV can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

Going to work

As set out in the section on staying at home, people can travel to and from work, but only where the work they do absolutely cannot be done from home. With the exception of the organisations covered above in the section on closing non-essential shops and public spaces, the Government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on. Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services.

If you cannot work from home then you can still travel to work, provided you are well and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a two metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a two metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.

No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.

No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

As set out in the section on closing non-essential shops and public spaces, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. The Government has set out guidance on which organisations this requirement covers. Advice for employees of these organisations on employment and financial support is available at: gov.uk/coronavirus.

At all times, workers should follow the guidance on self-isolation if they or anyone in their household shows symptoms.

Kevin Minton, chief executive of the Construction Plant hire Association - the CPA - has added this point for contractors and builders:

“This indicates that construction sites can continue to operate but must implement the Site Operating Procedures, developed by Build UK and published by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC). The CLC has confirmed that all construction sites should assess their situation and those sites that cannot implement the Site Operating Procedures published by the CLC should not remain open.”

“We have been assured by Government (BEIS) that they are working with the IPA and the Home Office to ensure that accurate information is provided to the police, to prevent any inappropriate actions by police to close sites. We strongly advise that you confirm that any site you or your employees are due to attend – for whatever purpose – has these in place before you arrive.”

“I acknowledge that not all Members’ activities are in mainstream construction – many of you are involved in supporting infrastructure and other essential services. The guidance above should be applied equally to those work environments”

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