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COVID-19 – Trailer Industry Guidance

With the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, advice and information from Government can (and will) change quickly. For all the latest Government information on COVID-19 and the measures the Government, and Devolved Governments are taking, please visit their respective websites. UK Government website, the Scottish Government website , the Welsh Government website and Norther Irish Government website.

The information below is being continuously reviewed and updated often. Please be sure to keep checking the COVID-19 guidance for employers and businesses from the Government for the latest updates.

Latest Government Action

This advice was announced at 17.30pm on 20/03/2020 and will be updated as further details evolve. 

  • All pubs, clubs, restaurants, leisure centers and cafe’s to close as of tonight.
  • The government will pay 80% of wages for employees not working, up to £2,500 a month. The scheme, open to any employer in the country, will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and will be open before the end of April for at least 3 months. There’s no limit on the funding available for the scheme, they will pay to support as many jobs as needed.
  • Self-assessment income payments will be deferred until Jan 2021.
  • Increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance, for the next 12 months, by £1,000 a year and increasing the Working Tax Credit basic element by the same amount.
  • Strengthening the safety net for self-employed people by suspending the minimum income floor. That means self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
  • For renters the Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in your area.
  • The COVID-19 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will not be interest-free, as previously planned, for 6 months – it will be for twelve months. Those loans will now be available on Monday.
  • The next quarter of VAT payments. No business will pay VAT from now to mid June. You’ll have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.

Government Financial Support

Download the guide on how to access Government Financial Support if your business has been affected by COVID-19.

Advice for Employers

What are my moral obligations?

All employers have a duty of care to ensure that the place of work is safe. This includes providing tissues, adequate antibacterial hand wash and hand sanitiser and insisting on regular hand washing.
Also to ensure that high risk individuals, such as those with any underlying medial conditions or pregnant ladies are given priority.
If you are unaware of the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the NHS has a comprehensive guide. If you, or a member of your team, are feeling unwell, please call 111 for advice (do not visit your local GP). The NHS have issued guidelines for self-isolating.

What are my legal obligations regarding sick pay?

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the Government have announced that they will fund SSP for two weeks of employees and it can be paid immediately (ie no waiting days). 

Sick pay can be paid also to those that are self isolating. 

If an employee refuses to work, can I make them?

Working from home is impossible with horses, and they still need to be cared for. If the employee suspects that they have been infected then they must under the new statutory Regs that came out today – be tested and isolated or contained (in a facility).  

If they have merely come into contact with someone who is infected then, again they must be tested. Employees cannot stay at home, just because they feel like it.

If an employee is self-isolating, do I have to pay them their full salary?

Depends on what is in the contract – if there is a sick pay scheme then pay accordingly to that. Otherwise SSP is payable under the new SSP Regs for COVID-19.

My employee needs to self isolate due to a family member – how do I stand?

If the employee works as part of a larger team then they must self isolate as per Government recommendations (7 days for direct contact, 14 days for indirect contact).

If you are struggling with the work load then consider using a freelance groom to help with this shortfall, but socially distancing them from other team members where possible / have them working in shifts.

If your employee is the primary carer for the horses then as long as they are showing no symptoms they are allowed to work, but limit any outside contact from liveries / clients etc – essentially self isolating them. Ensure that all biosecurity measures are in place and that any deliveries dropped off to your workplace and accepted by a nominated person to avoid any direct contact.

Staying Safe

Do
-Ensure your staff and you wash your hands with soap and water often – for at least 20 seconds. Avoid drying your hands on a communal towel.
– Use hand sanitiser gel when you 
– Avoid going to work if you are feeling unwell.
– Self-isolate for at least seven days if you show any symptoms of coronavirus (even mild ones). If symptoms remain mild you do not need to call 111, but make sure you have made provisions for your own animals (if applicable). 
– Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products.
– Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hand), or you cough or sneeze.
– Put the tissue in the bin straight away and wash your hands.
– Avoid contact with people who are unwell.
Don’t
– Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
– Eat before washing your hands.

Minimise face-to-face contact

Where possible minimise your face to face interaction with your clients and staff, instead set up an open communication via another channel such as WhatsApp, to communicate what needs to be done each day. 

If face to face communication is unavoidable take the steps above to minimise the risk and ensure that you wash your hands regular, avoid small enclosed populated spaces, and touching your face. Avoid anyone you know is feeling unwell, even if you suspect it may just be a common cold.
Limit any direct contact by emailing your invoices and asking for BACS payments instead of handling cash.

Stagger Client / Customer Visiting Times

If you have a shop or workshop, stagger the times that customers visit by giving them time slots wherever possible. 

Ensure that all clients follow strict biosecurity measures and adhere to social distancing.

What changes could / should I make to my working practices?

Some businesses have started to either separate people into two teams, or stagger working times to reduce the face to face contact between staff members.

Where possible keep staff away from each other, including staggering lunch and break times to assist social distancing.

Ensure that all staff members are aware of the biosecurity protocols in place on the yard and adhere to them.

Regularly disinfect commonly used equipment such as hand tools, telephones, computer keyboards, door handles, taps etc

Your Mental Health

Your mental health matters and at a time when everything seems a little uncertain it is important to stay in communication with those around you.

Remember at this time your friends and colleagues may also be struggling so reach out and stay in contact. Here at the Trailer Medic, we are open as normal (or as normal as we can be!) and here to chat and help where we can. 

As the coronavirus continues to spread, keep up to date with advice from the NHS who has detailed information on staying safe, and symptoms.