The Government’s view on who and how we should be working is finally becoming clearer. Following Boris’ speech on 10 May, there was much uncertainty over which businesses should be open and how or if employees should start returning to work. Boris furnished us with a few further details during his visit to the House of Commons on 11 May and later that evening the Government finally published their sector specific guides.
The guides do not provide all of the answers, and it would be unfair to expect them to, but they do make it clear that if homeworking is not possible, businesses should only be open if it is safe for their employees to attend. There is a focus on managing and reducing risk and an expectation that employers will consult with staff, and recognised trade unions in addition to undertaking COVID-19 specific risk assessments. Employers are advised to think about who should come to work, how their employees get to work, how activities should be undertaken, how to interact with clients/customers, the frequency of washing hands and equipment, maintaining social distancing in addition to considering whether certain activities should be undertaken at all.
The guides confirm that save for in a limited number of exceptions, if an organisation was not using face masks prior to the pandemic, that workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE outside of clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of the virus.
Each guide makes it clear that social distancing applies to all parts of a business, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens, car parks or anywhere employees might ordinarily come within two meters of another person.
If you require advice and support on whether to open your business, steps you can take to reduce risk, or any aspect of managing the return to work of your staff, please contact us on the number below.
A link to the full guides can be found within our Post Lockdown Survival Kits for Businesses https://wolferstans.com/business-services/post-lockdown-survival-kits-for-businesses/
For further assistance, please contact James Twine on 01752 292351 or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org
Partner, Solicitor, Head of Business Services