From Wednesday 13th May 2020, the UK Government have made some changes to the working practices of many UK businesses during phase 2 of lockdown. We analyse what has changed in their guidance.
Phase 2 of lockdown: businesses who can't work from home
During phase 2 of lockdown, the general advice that if you can work from home, you should continues. However, for the first time, where roles cannot be done from home, the advice is now to plan to return to work. Specific industries highlighted here are as follows:
- Laboratories and research facilities
- Tradesmen, cleaners and people who work in others homes.
- Those who facilitate trade or transport goods
- Those who administer takeaways or deliveries in restaurants and cafes
How will health and safety be maintained during phase 2 of lockdown?
The Government have indicated that they will produce more detailed guidance in the coming days. However, it is likely to involve the following:
- Staggered start and finish times
- Maintaining social distancing
- Providing additional disinfectant and cleaning materials
- Avoiding public transport where possible
- Self isolating if you start to display symptoms.
The guidance also says that the use of hot desks should be avoided unless absolutely critical. Where use can’t be avoided, such as in call centres, the workstations should be sanitised between shifts. Screens and barriers should also be erected between desks. Floor tape can be used to demark one way traffic in corridors and public spaces and to ensure social distancing is maintained. So phase 2 of lockdown is likely to be very different. Many businesses may decide that the cost of implementing this is prohibitive and will instead prefer to maintain homeworking.
Phase 2 of lockdown - what happens if I don't want to go to work?
If you can’t work from home, your employer should take you through a risk assessment and get your feedback on proposed risk mitigation. If your employer isn’t taking the required steps, then you can report them to the Health and Safety Executive or your local authority.
Employers are encouraged to come to a reasonable agreement about working practices. Contact us if you need any guidance on this topic.
What if I can't get to work?
The Government is actively discouraging the use of public transport. So unless it is impossible to get to work by walking, bike or car, you should avoid public transport. If you have to get public transport, you are encouraged to wear a face covering.
Phase 2 of lockdown - what about childcare?
If the Government’s tests are met, then children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 will return to school on 1st June. The indication is that the rest of primary school children will return in late June or early July. Secondary school pupils may not return until September. Those who can send the children in to school can do so. Those who can’t may still be able to access the furlough scheme. We await an announcement from the Chancellor in the next few days as to the future of the furlough scheme. It is widely anticipated that the scheme will be extended until September but at the reduced level of 60% of salary.
What about other businesses?
Pubs, cinemas and indoor leisure centres, amongst others, remain closed during phase 2 of lockdown. If things going according to plan, they will start to re-open in July as part of phase 3.