4. 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 2 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).
Nothing further online regarding furloughed employees. Existing guidance (below) states that furloughing will be available to avoid lay offs or redundancy. Although there is no specific guidance yet, this would suggest that an employee on sick leave could be furloughed.
COVID-19: support for businesses Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
COVID-19: guidance for employees Furloughed workers If your employer cannot cover staff costs due to COVID-19, they may be able to access support to continue paying part of your wage, to avoid redundancies.
If your employer intends to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, they will discuss with you becoming classified as a furloughed worker. This would mean that you are kept on your employer’s payroll, rather than being laid off.
An employee wants to stay at home because they live with a vulnerable person but that person is not in the extremely vulnerable category.
They are not acting in accordance with current government advice. They do not have to self-isolate unless they, or someone in their household, has symptoms. As such any absence is not sickness absence. They should come to work but their concern is reasonable. We would suggest that the correct approach would be to try and agree some unpaid time off. We don’t believe they should be paid because it sends the wrong message to everyone else who is working. It is not a furlough situation. Each case needs to be considered carefully.
Do we have to accept children from other schools?
Yes, is the simple answer. Schedule 16 of the Coronavirus Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament gives the Secretary of State (so basically the LA) the power to issue a Temporary Continuity Direction to a School. It is not law yet, but soon will be. Section 1(4)(d) provides that Temporary Continuity Direction may ‘require a relevant institution to allow specified persons to attend that institution for the purpose of receiving education, training or childcare, services relating to education, training or childcare or ancillary services or facilities, provided by or on behalf of that institution.’
Temporary continuity directions: England Section 1 (4) A temporary continuity direction under this paragraph may— (a) require the taking of reasonable steps in general terms, or require the taking of particular steps that the Secretary of State considers reasonable, in relation to any of the matters mentioned in the following paragraphs; (b) require a relevant institution to open, to stay open, to re-open, or to open at times when it would not usually be open; (c) require a relevant institution to provide education, training or childcare, services relating to education, training or childcare or ancillary services or facilities; (d) require a relevant institution to allow specified persons to attend that institution for the purpose of receiving education, training or childcare, services relating to education, training or childcare or ancillary services or facilities, provided by or on behalf of that institution; (e) require the alteration of term dates; (f) require a relevant institution to provide or make arrangements for the provision of transport or other services relating to the provision of education, training or childcare or to ancillary services or facilities; (g) make different provision for different purposes, or be framed by reference to whatever matters the Secretary of State considers appropriate; (h) make transitional, transitory or saving provision; (i) make such other provision as the Secretary of State considers appropriate in connection with the giving of the direction.
Future Developments Proposed amendment to introduce statutory self-employment pay On 23 March 2020 the House of Commons Public Bill Committee proposed an amendment to the Coronavirus Bill 2019-2021 which would require the government to introduce “statutory self-employment pay” for the “self-employed” and “freelancers” equivalent to furlough leave for employees and workers.
The amendment proposes that individuals who are self-employed or freelancers would receive a “top-up” to ensure that their net monthly earnings do not fall below the lower of:
80% of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years.