Who can travel to work?
After the PM’s lockdown address last night, the government sent out conflicting messages.
An hour after the address, the government published its guidance stating that key workers and other people can travel to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
Naturally people such as construction workers (and many others besides) therefore believed the lockdown did not apply to them because they can only perform their work on site.
But then the Government tweeted: “The only reasons you may leave home [are]: … to go to work (if you’re a key worker)”
That suggested that the work had to be necessary, and if it was not (i.e. if you were not a key worker), people should not go to work today.
That position has since been clarified and as things stand (on 24 March 2020) desperate employers are entitled to pay less than normal pay, or none at all depending on the reason, if their staff do not show up for work and their work cannot be done from home.
For those that must attend a workplace to perform their duties, employers still need be mindful of the social distancing measures (e.g. the 2m apart rule) and put in place policies to comply with those measures.
However, unless we are able to demonstrate that social distancing is being observed in workplaces providing non-essential products or services, on the streets and on public transport, we are likely to see further restrictions imposed.
Looking at some of this morning’s overcrowding on the Tube network, one can only fear that the Government’s patience will run out sooner rather than later.
Is there now a glimmer of hope for the Self Employed?
There have been increasingly loud calls for the Government to be doing more about the self-employed.
The furlough pay announced on Friday last week by the Chancellor only applied to employees, yet 5 million Brits are self employed and they were being left to claim universal credit if the crisis left them without and income.
Well hope could be on the way in the form of the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which has proposed an amendment to the Coronavirus Bill, entitled Statutory Self-Employment Pay.
These amendments, if accepted, impose an obligation on Government to introduce new Regulations providing that freelancers and self-employed people receive guaranteed earnings of:
(a) 80% of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years; or,
(b) £2,917 per month,
whichever is the lower.
This will be a huge step forward but it is just a glimmer of hope at this stage because we still do not know if or when these regulations may have an effect. We will keep you updated when we know more.
Warning note to the reader: this is a fast moving and very fluid situation in which new announcements and measures are being made almost on a daily basis. This blog is for guidance only and we can only assure you that it is valid as of 24.03.20. We will make every effort to keep you updated and to help us do that you may like to join our mailing list. Please contact us to ensure that you are on it.