This employment law update covers the government ‘s new measures to address rising cases of coronavirus in England.

The new measures relevant to employers included:

– Customers will have to wear face coverings more widely, including in hospitality venues (from 24th September), private hire vehicles (from 23rd September):

– Hospitality and retail staff will now also be required to wear face coverings (from 24 September):

– Individuals undertaking close contact services now be required by law to wear face coverings and visors (from 24th September):

– New restrictions on hospitality venues have been announced (which apply from 24th September). These include having to close by 10pm, food and drink must be ordered from tables, and food and drink must be consumed at a table in any premises selling food and drink indoors:

– QR Codes must be displayed by businesses for use with the track and trace app which will be rolled out from 24th September:

– A wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres, and close contact services, will be subject to the COVID-19 Secure requirements in law with fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches:

– Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work; and

– Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.

The guidance on working from home has also changed. The new guidance states:

“Office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter.  Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so. Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary. Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work.”

It appears that the government wishes to ensure that employers retain some control over who can work from home as the wording suggests that an employer can still require an employee to work at their office if, after consultation with the employee, they determine that an employee cannot work effectively from home. However, we expect further guidance to be issued on this.

Full details of the new measures have not yet been announced but a summary of the what has changed can be found at the following link:

Kickstart Scheme

Earlier this week the government published guidance on its Kickstart Scheme. The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding will cover for each job placement:

– 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week;

– The associated employer National Insurance contributions; and

– Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

Full details about the scheme including how to apply for a grant under the scheme can be found at the following link:

Should you wish to discuss anything outlined in this update, or another employment law matter, please get in touch: kerrycurd@wbw.co.uk or call 01626 202404.