We’re sure you are already aware, but here is the Gov.uk link to offer support from your business.
If you decide to change what your business does to help support the government then it may affect the insurance you need. Please make sure you speak to your broker about your policy and what you intend to do in case changes to your policy need to be made.
The FSB has asked large businesses to pay any invoices owed to small businesses, immediately upon receipt of the invoice. And if they hold an invoice now, the finance team should be asked to pay it, immediately.
Small businesses or the self-employed with invoices issued should use this moment to chase for instant payment. You should also immediately issue invoices for work done, so they can be processed while finance teams in large businesses are operating. This isn’t just for large customers; everyone should be encouraged to pay an invoice, immediately.
The Government has announced changes to enable companies undergoing a rescue or restructure process to continue trading, given them breathing space that could help them avoid insolvency.
This will enable companies to continue buying much-needed supplies, such as energy, raw materials or broadband, while attempting a rescue. It also temporarily suspends wrongful trading provisions from 1 March 2020 for three months for company directors so they can keep their businesses going without the threat of personal liability.
New regulations extending the restrictions are now enforceable by law in England, Wales and Scotland due to the threat to public health.
Businesses who continue to operate in contravention of the regulations will be commiting a criminal offence. The Environmental Health and Trading Standards agencies will be monitoring compliance along with police support if appropriate. Businesses and premises that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially unlimited fines.
As and when your business can re-start or re-open you should enforce all Covid-19 workplace restrictions in line with Government regulations and guidance (including for those employees working offsite and at 3rd party premises) for example social distancing, floor markings, protective equipment, staggered working hours and breaks. Where these restrictions cannot be met, then work activities should either be revised to achieve them or stopped altogether.
You should carry out enhanced cleaning regimes of the workplace pre and post re-opening, particularly in communal areas and touchpoints such as washing facilities, toilet flush and seats, door handles and push plates, hand rails, office equipment, machinery controls and food preparation areas as well as any company vehicles. If you are introducing alcohol-based hand sanitizers into your workplace, it is important to note these are flammable. As well as updating your fire risk assessments to keep your premises and people safe, ensure storage and use of the alcohol-based hand sanitizers are clear of ignition sources and ideally store within purpose designed flammable liquid cabinets, or otherwise steel cabinets.
With everything going on, it’s important to keep connected to your employees, even if operations have stopped for now. Working remotely and social distancing/isolating can be lonely, so make the most of internet communication tools to regularly keep in contact. Put in regular catch up calls to keep staff informed and avoid them feeling alone.
We have a list of useful resources you can share with your employees to help with keeping mentally well during these challenging times.
Yes. Employees should do these once a year or when they change workstations, so it’s important for all employees to fill in a now they are working remotely. Many businesses and employers have had to move to working from home quickly and so workstation set-ups could be improved with some simple fixes.
Under the Job Retention Scheme, a furloughed employee is an employee who would have otherwise been laid off or made redundant because of COVID-19. Employers can claim up to 80% of their wages from HMRC – HMRC is setting up a new portal for employers to access this scheme.
For further questions on furlough and other legal matters related to COVID-19 you can consult our COVID-19 legal FAQs.
There have been four changes to SSP:
For further questions on furlough and other legal matters related to COVID-19 you can consult our COVID-19 legal FAQs.
If employees are classed as vulnerable but neither them, nor anyone they live with, is displaying symptoms then they aren't required to isolate, although they are advised to. Because it isn't a requirement, as it is for those with symptoms or living with someone with symptoms, they are not classed as sick and therefore not entitled to SSP. They can be required to come to work, but a better option would be to furlough this person.
Flexible furlough was announced by the Chancellor to allow employers to start bringing employees back part time from 1 July before the scheme ends completely on 31 October 2020. From 10 June the furlough scheme is closed for any employees who have not yet been furloughed.
The Chancellor shared that from 1 August the main change is that employers will have to pay employees' National Insurance and pension contributions and will no longer be able to claim a grant. From the start of September, the Government will pay only 70% of wages for those employees furloughed (up to £2,187.50) and employers will pay 10% of wages to make this up to 80% and the maximum of £2,500 (plus employers' total NIC's and pension contributions). From the beginning of October until the scheme ends on 31 October, the Government will pay 60% of wages for employees up to £1,875 and employers will pay 20% to make this up to 80%.
The Governments advice is still to work from home if you can and to always follow the guidance on social distancing. If staff cannot work from home and your business is preparing to re-open, provide staff with reasonable notice and communicate to them in writing how the workplace will be adjusting to follow Government guidance. Communicate with payroll staff or your provider so they’re aware to adjust payments when staff will be returning to work and in line with the dates announced by the Government for flexible furlough.
Consider that employees have not been working for a considerable amount of time and that their domestic responsibilities may have changed. Try and take a flexible approach to bringing your employees back. If delaying the start date for some of your employees and not others, communicate the reasons and do not use discriminatory criteria. Further reading is available via the link below on short term working, redundancy and reduced working hours.
It's always important to make sure your building is secure if it's left empty - find out more about how to
To minimise the risk to your buildings you can:
The Government has put a temporary extension in place which means all cars, vans and motorcycles due an MOT from 30 March 2020 have a 6 month exemption.
International freight transport is regarded as essential travel and so is exempt from many of the travel and border restrictions. However, many countries have imposed border controls, quarantine periods on incoming UK road freight transport crew or refused entry.
Road operators should check specific information on the Freight Transport Association or Road Haulage Association, as well as FCO travel pages to stay up to date.
|Remember to keep your tyres sufficiently inflated as this is crucial in protecting the longevity of the rubber. Your vehicle manual will give you information about the recommended tyre pressures. To stop tyres from getting flat spots whilst not being used, you should try move your vehicle regularly. It doesn’t have to move far, just enough to rotate the area of the tyre which comes into contact with the road surface so it stays in shape.|
|A vehicle’s battery charges continually whilst the vehicle is driven, so if it’s not being used then it will go flat over a period of time. To make sure the battery is in good condition when you start to use it more regularly again, you should aim to start and drive the vehicle every week for about 15 minutes. This will help recharge the battery properly and make sure the rest of the vehicle is in good condition.|
|To prevent the parking brake from seizing up, it may be more appropriate to use vehicle chocks. The vehicle manual will give additional information on what to do when parking for a prolonged period.|
Working in or from a vehicle can include:
When in a vehicle, or using a vehicle it is not always possible to keep 2 metres apart and some of your tasks may require more than one person. Where social distancing guidelines cannot be followed, consider if the respective tasks are necessary for the business and if they should continue.
If carrying out deliveries or collections, the Government has suggested keeping the task time as short as possible, using back-to-back or side-to-side working and reducing the number of people each person has contact with by continuing to put them in the same working teams.
If delivering or picking up goods, consider an agreed schedule to reduce congestion onsite. Social distancing applies to all parts of the business, including depots and breakrooms and you should encourage the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.
The Government is encouraging everyone to stay at home as much possible. You can use your vehicle in England for the following reasons:
In Scotland this does not include exercise and in Wales, these should only be local journeys which means 5 miles from your home. You can travel further for work, to seek care and for essential shopping.
If you need to use your vehicle for any of these reasons and you have not used it for quite some time, you should check that it is roadworthy and safe to use. Highways England has provided advice on how to check your tyres, fuel, oil and water and recommends you familiarise yourself with what to do if your vehicle was to break down.
If you do need to use your vehicle you should plan your route in advance. Be aware that your route is likely to be more congested than usual with more pedestrians and cyclists as less people are using public transport. Limit your time at garages, petrol stations and motorway services and if you need to stop, ensure you maintain social distancing of 2 metres and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds on arrival and before leaving.
There has been a call to action from the government for businesses to pull together in an effort to combat the effects of coronavirus. Whether that be support in supplying ventilators and other vital medical equipment, or transporting good and people.
Customers have also changed their buying behaviour in response to what is happening. So, you may decide to change your business purpose to meet Government or customer needs. Please speak to your broker to discuss the specific detail of policy coverage to ensure you are still fully insured.
You should consider how your employees and your customers handle goods, stock and merchandise to limit the transmission of COVID-19 through contact with items that come in and out of the store. Review and change how customers view merchandise when shopping to limit handling of items and provide your employees with guidance on how they can safely assist customers. Where possible, put in place pick-up and drop-off collection points to reduce passing items hand to hand. When purchasing and returning items stagger collection times to maintain social distancing, ensuring a clear queuing system is in place. Items that are returned, donated or brought in for repair and so handled extensively, should be stored in a seperate container or room for 72 hours and if possible, considered for cleaning. Where possible, encourage contactless refunds.
Encourage frequent cleaning of mutil-touch points and common items as well as regular handwashing - set up more handwashing facilities for workers and customers, providing hand sanitiser stations where possible.
Businesses in England can now reassure customers coming onto their premises by downloading, printing and displaying the COVID-19 secure certificate from Health and Safety England.
Continue to remain compliant with the latest government advice and communicate to your customers through social media and newsletters your opening times and new processes you have put in place, for example social distancing and the use of hand sanitiser. You should also inform your customers about the risk assessments you have carried out to be COVID-19 secure.