26 March Update – contractual issues and social distancing

26 March Update – contractual issues and social distancing

The message is clear: stay at home, avoid all social interaction, and only travel to work if absolutely necessary.

This morning Build UK have published their guidance on contractual issues which is available on line. This is a comprehensive guide to the situation facing many of our members and was developed by Build UK and Wedlake Bell, an independent London law firm. This is displayed on the AFI Coronavirus page too for your reference.

The Government has provided updated guidance on going to work in section 4 (See below) of its guidance on staying at home and away from others (social distancing). The following is that section in full:

  1. Going to work
    As set out in the section on staying at home, people can travel to and from work, but only where the work they do cannot be done from home.
    With the exception of the organisations covered above in the section on closing non-essential shops and public spaces, the Government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on.
    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.
    Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services.
    If you cannot work from home then you can still travel to work, provided you are well and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.
    Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).
    Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.
    No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.
    No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
    As set out in the section on closing non-essential shops and public spaces, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. The Government has set out guidance on which organisations this requirement covers. Advice for employees of these organisations on employment and financial support is available at gov.uk/coronavirus.
    At all times, workers should follow the guidance on self-isolation if they or anyone in their household shows symptoms.

If there are situations where it is necessary to work, please be aware that, the Build UK site operating procedures must be followed. If this cannot be done the work must cease.

As always please give us a call if you are unsure about any of this. We may not have the answer but we will help you find out if we can.

  • As soon as we receive further information from the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) in relation to key issues such as furloughed and self-employed workers we will publish it on the AFI Coronavirus web page
  • Please do feedback any issues with Contractors either not complying with the Site Operating Procedures or withholding payments.
  • Please let us know if there is any specific guidance you need.

Remember: stay at home, avoid all social interaction, and only travel to work if absolutely necessary.

Take care and keep well.

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