ON 4th January 2021, the Prime Minister issued a statement urging everyone to stay at home. This new Tier 5, imposed nationally, has meant that all schools will be closed and people have been urged not to leave the house except for essential and specific reasons. This is much more akin to the first national lockdown which took place in March 2020.
But what does this mean for jobs and the workplace?
Guidance on what this means has been published by the government. This states;
You may only leave your home for work if you 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. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers.
Public sector employees working in essential services, including childcare or education, should continue to go into work.
Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – you can do so.
Otherwise, you should avoid meeting for work in a private home or garden, where COVID-19 Secure measures may not be in place. 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. The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.
As previously, more information and detailed legislation will be published soon. The law, once passed, is due to take effect from the early hours on Wednesday. However, the new restrictions mean that people may not leave the house without a reasonable excuse and the police will have the power to enforce this.
We have all been here before. Thoughts of home-schooling again and memories of the last lockdown mean we may well dread this next lockdown. But businesses – and to a certain extent individuals – are more prepared for this type of lockdown than ever. We have done it before; we can do it again.
For any assistance with how this will affect you in your employment or business, please do get in touch with our Head of Employment, Miss Ilinca Mardarescu.