The government is preparing guidance on how businesses can deliver a phased return-to-work for staff.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have drawn up plans which are widely predicted to include special advice for sectors such as retail and customer service.
Timescales for delivery
Sources say that the documents will be published next week so that business leaders have time to consider the proposals. It is hoped that the plan will provide a route map for operating safe workplaces.
COVID-19 guidance for workplaces
The top line advice for business is expected to call for improved standards of sanitation. It is also likely to suggest increasing access to hand-wash throughout shared office space and toilet areas.
As well as sanitation, social distancing measures may see workers banned from canteens and other communal areas such as meeting rooms.
The Workers Union says
Workers Union chief spokesman Johnathan Morgan said: ‘We welcome plans to get business moving again – but not at the expense of hard-pressed workers. Yes, there are economic issues to consider, but we won’t get back to normal by putting working people at risk.’
Mr Morgan went on to say: ‘Based on our own research and that of the Health and Safety Executive, we know many people are worried about returning to work. We have also had complaints from members with horror stories about the way their workplace has dealt with COVID-19. One member told us that she had to bring in hand sanitiser because of limited supplies in the factory toilets. Another said that staff were asked to carry on working close together. When she asked for face-masks, she was told that there was “no budget” for extra protection.
‘The government has to make sure that any guidance they publish make it clear that shoddy standards of employee protections will not be tolerated. Business needs to remember the way that working people have selflessly kept them afloat during these difficult times. If they don’t, we will be waiting to hold them to account.’