- Roadmap out of lockdown: what does this mean for employers?
Roadmap out of lockdown: what does this mean for employers?
Roadmap out of lockdown: what does this mean for employers?12th March 2021 - Published by Kuits Employment team
The Government’s four-step roadmap out of lockdown has provided a light at the end of the tunnel for many and the vaccination programme continues apace and ahead of schedule. We have had a number of queries based on an assumption that this also paves the way for a return to the office.
For the moment, the current government guidance remains that people should only leave their home for work if they cannot reasonably work from home. The guidance goes so far as to state that employers should be taking “every possible step” to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. Unless the guidance is updated, the roadmap indicates that this will continue to be the case until 21 June at the earliest.
For many businesses, “agile” working has become much more than a temporary accommodation of lockdown and will result in more permanent arrangements; remote working may become a way of life and it is likely to be much more difficult for employers to reasonably refuse flexible working requests. Many businesses are planning for these changes and as part of this, updating contractual provisions and policies and procedures will be essential.
29 March 2021
Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be permitted. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts will be allowed to reopen and formally organised outdoor sports can resume.
People should continue to work from home and minimise the number of journeys they make. Travel abroad is still largely prohibited but will be reviewed on 12 April.
Not before 12 April 2021
By this date, we could see the opening of non-essential retail, personal care premises such as hairdressers, and public buildings such as libraries and community centres. Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and outdoor attractions such as theme parks and drive-in cinemas can also re-open no earlier than 12 April.
Hospitality venues may serve people outdoors. The imposed curfew and requirement for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks will be removed.
Not before 17 May 2021
Indoor hospitality, indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play centres and the accommodation sector will re-open no earlier than 17 May. Indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will be able to continue. Some larger performances and sporting events both indoor and outdoor are anticipated to be given permission for audience presence potentially up to half capacity.
Not before 21 June 2021
All remaining premises, including nightclubs are due to re-open no sooner than 21 June.
There will be a review published a week before this date which will provide the latest guidance on working from home from 21 June onwards. The review will coincide with the proposed removal of social distancing, the estimated successful impact of vaccinations and the results of a scientific Events Research Programme testing the outcome of certain pilot events through spring and summer where testing and other techniques will be trialled to cut the risk of transmission.
Key updates for employers and self employed
Extension of the Furlough Scheme
In Wednesday 3rd March 2021’s budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the furlough scheme would be extended, from the anticipated end date in April, to the end of September. This will be a particularly welcomed measure amongst businesses in the hospitality and leisure industries as the furlough scheme has proven instrumental in protecting millions of jobs during the pandemic. The extension will be a helping hand throughout the staggered re-opening of businesses and afford employers the flexibility to return to normality at a pace that is appropriate and affordable for their business. As the economy reopens, employers will be asked to pay 10% in July and 20% in August and September towards the hours that their staff do not work.
Grants for the Self-employed
A fifth grant under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will run from May to September, with the fourth grant ending in April. Those whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will receive up to 80% of three months’ trading profits capped at £7,500. Those who have suffered a reduction of less than 30% turnover will receive a grant covering 30% of three months’ trading profits capped at £2,850. Self-employed workers who filed their tax returns for 2019-20 by midnight on Tuesday 2nd March may now be eligible
Get in touch with a Employment Law expert
Our team of expert Employment law solicitors will be going through a post-lockdown guide that employers should stick to in order to make sure workplaces are fit for return in our next HR Breakfast Club webinar. To find out more about the webinar, including details of our guest speaker, please click here.
If you would like further advice on anything mentioned in this article, please contact Employment law Partner Sally Bird on 0161 838 7818 or email email@example.com.