Yesterday evening, the Prime Minister addressed the nation to talk about the first phase of easing the lockdown.  But what does this mean for businesses, below we’ve answered a few questions that we’ve received this morning:
  1. If your staff can work from home, they must continue to do so.  Subject to your individual financial situation, staff should be removed from furlough in the near future.  The Chancellor has said the furlough scheme will end on 30th June, but we are awaiting his next statement where he will set out how he intends it to taper off.
  2. If your staff need to travel to work (eg to a factory or engineering plant) they should return to work if:
    • you can be sure that you have considered their safety in your business premises, considering issues such as social distancing and common areas, possible shift changes or staggered working patterns, PPE and hand washing/sanitising facilities, reducing the need to touch surfaces such as wedging doors open and a schedule of deep cleaning
    • you can be sure that your staff can travel to work safely in their own vehicles, by foot/bike or on public transport which will allow for social distancing
    • you can be sure that your staff do not have caring or childcare responsibilities which they cannot meet if they are out of the home, or that they are not in the high-risk category who should be shielding
    • you can be sure that you are able to serve customers or receive supplies/deliveries on your premises if necessary, whilst taking social distancing into account
    • you have communicated their requirement to ensure they are symptom-free before entering the workplace and to self-isolate at home if they or a member of their family shows symptoms (SSP will be paid to them in these instances from day 1 of their quarantine)
  3. That you have a strategic plan and a financial projection which includes all additional costs, your cashflows for making payments and a credit control process for collecting money which is owed to you and you believe, with an assumption for the level of trade, that you have sufficient cash runway to withstand the reduction in employees for whom you are claiming furlough grants

More detail are expected this afternoon from the Prime Minister when he addresses the House of Commons.  As always we will update you more when we know more.