News Update – COVID19 & General - 07/01/2021

  • National lockdowns commenced in mainland Scotland today and England from tomorrow, with Wales and Northern Ireland already following national restrictions.  Key issues for business include:
  • People may only leave their home for work if they cannot reasonably work from home.
  • Where people cannot work from home – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace.
  • Employers should take every possible step to facilitate their workers working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.
  • Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term.  A COVID-19 Key Worker template letter can be found in the ALP Help Centre which you can give to your workers to confirm their critical worker status.
  • People who are unable to work because of caring responsibilities, including childcare responsibilities, may be furloughed.
  • Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should not attend work.  If it is not possible for them to work from home, they may be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA).  Shielding workers will receive a formal shielding letter that can act as evidence for their employer and the Department of Work and Pensions that can be used to provide evidence of eligibility for SSP or ESA.
  • People may only travel internationally or within the UK, where they first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. It is permitted to travel for work purposes.
  • Advice for pregnant workers on risk assessments in the workplace and occupational health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • Updated advice for visa customers and applicants in the UK, visa customers outside of the UK and British nationals overseas who need to apply for a passport affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus.

GENERAL

  • Government has confirmed the Seasonal Workers Pilot, originally launched in 2019, has been extended and expanded for an additional year with 30,000 visas available for those wanting to come and work on UK farms for a period of up to six months. An RFI has been published, seeking two additional GLAA licensed labour providers to join the current two Operators for 2021. The deadline for responses is 29 January with a decision expected on 12th February.  Read more in the ALP brief – ‘Extended Seasonal Workers Scheme Pilot’ available from the
  • 139 companies who failed to pay their workers the minimum wage have been ‘named and shamed’ in the first National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme release since 2018.  The companies named were investigated between 2016 and 2018 and failed to pay £6.7 million to over 95,000 workers in total.  The most common breaches included deductions that take pay below NMW, unpaid working time and failure to apply the accommodation offset.  .
  • New guidance on which vehicle documents you need to carry if you drive a bus or coach across international borders.

Original Source: ALP

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