13th May 2020

Preparing to Return to Work

The Government announcement on Monday actively encouraged people who cannot work from home to go back to work from this week. Wiltshire Council (WC) and the Town Council are currently assessing what impact this announcement will have for council services, but in the line with the Government’s latest message ‘for now Wiltshire Council expects all staff currently working from home to continue to do so and it would urge local businesses to adopt the same approach’.

The Mayor of Bradford on Avon, Simon McNeill-Ritchie said:

“I welcome the first positive, if small steps, to allow our shops and businesses to return to work, where it is safe to do so. They are much loved and much missed. However in doing so, we must also ensure that we continue to take every care to protect residents, workers, customers and visitors, as well as business owners themselves as health must be at the forefront of every decision.”

Businesses that wish to prepare for employees to return to work can find links giving government advice on various aspects further down this page.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The other main business news yesterday was the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by a further four months until the end of October 2020. In the first instance, furloughed employees will continue to receive 80% of the current salary up to £2,500 until the end of July. From the start of August, furloughed staff will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed employees. The contribution from the government will ensure that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

More specific details around the implementation will be published by the end of May 2020.

Self-employed Income Support Scheme

Self-employed individuals should check to see whether they qualify for the Government’s Self-employed Income Support Scheme. More info here:

Discretionary Fund

WC expect the Government will publish guidance today about the new Discretionary Fund, which aims to support small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. Priority will be given to businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. WC will also have some discretion to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need.

WC will be reviewing this guidance and are aiming to issue details of eligibility and how to apply for this funding next week.

Useful Links

General government advice to businesses: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

Government advice on specific sectors, including retail, office, and catering and bars, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/

Short video demonstrating Five Steps to working safely together:

https://industrialstrategy.frontify.com/upload/screens/237442/57a73ca4ad032ac64af69142bec1bf92-1589267806.mp4

And you may find the following link useful for Health & Safety templates on risk assessment:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/index.htm