Workplace testing programme expands to offer free rapid home testing: From 6 April, the workplace testing programme will supply home test kits to companies with over 10 workers where it is not possible to set up testing on-site, due to a lack of space or because companies operate across multiple sites. Businesses must register interest by 12 April to access free tests. Find out more here.
Employer testing duty: If you are an employer that requires staff to travel regularly across UK borders you must take reasonable steps to facilitate your employees to take tests. Find out more here.
Bespoke testing for eligible international arrivals travelling to England from outside the Common Travel Area. Some people do not have to quarantine if they are travelling for work, because of the jobs they do. Check this list of jobs to find out whether you qualify for an exemption from quarantine and whether you must follow a bespoke testing regime or day 2 and day 8 testing for international arrivals. Find more information here.
Seasonal workers to receive free Covid-19 tests on farms: Employers of seasonal agricultural workers in the edible horticulture sector are urged to register for free workplace testing.
New grant funding and Business rates relief in England
From 1 April businesses in England in the non-essential retail sector will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000, while businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors, which are reopening later, will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £18,000. Businesses can check their eligibility for the Restart Grant here. This is coupled with £425 million of top-up funding for the ongoing Additional Restrictions Grant scheme for councils to distribute to businesses in particularly urgent need of additional support – which could also be businesses who don’t necessarily pay business rates like tour operators, B&Bs, caterers, freelancers and wedding service providers. Find out more here.
A new Business Rates relief fund of £1.5 billion for businesses affected by COVID-19 outside the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors has been announced to provide an extra, targeted support package for businesses who have been unable to benefit from the existing £16 billion business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. The £1.5 billion pot will be allocated to local authorities in England based on the stock of properties in the area whose sectors have been affected by COVID-19. Local Authorities will use their knowledge of local businesses and the local economy to make awards. Find out more here.
Working safely guidance has been updated to include changes to national restrictions. Other specific changes include:
Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace: Guidance has been updated to reflect the change in rules for when a group enters a venue. From 29 March 2021, every customer or visitor should be asked to scan the NHS QR code or provide their name and contact details, not just a lead member.
New and Updated Guidance
Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do from 29 March: Guidance has been updated with ‘what’s changed’ from 29 March.
Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus: Information on the weekly rate in the ‘what you can claim’ section has been updated to reveal new weekly rate from 6 April 2021 is now £96.35. For more information, click here.
Automatic filing extensions granted by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act due to come to an end: Guidance has been updated to reflect the automatic extensions granted by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act for confirmation statement filings, accounts filings and event-driven filings will come to an end after 5 April 2021.
Advice for pregnant employees: Guidance has been updated to include information on the next stage of the roadmap.
Driver and rider trainer guidance:
Steps to take before calculating your claim: Guidance updated to reflect dates for when employers can make a claim.
From April 6, hauliers arriving in England from abroad will need to take a COVID-19 test if they are staying for more than 2 days. They need to take the first test within the first 2 days, then further tests every 3 days. This will apply to drivers and crews of HGVs and drivers of vans and other light goods vehicles. It applies to both UK-based and non-UK hauliers. Find out more here.
Driver CPC card extension for lorry, bus and coach drivers now expired: Guidance updated to inform that the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) card extended by 7 months to complete 35 hours of periodic training, for card due to expire from 1 February to 31 August 2020 has now expired.