Furlough scheme cut-off date extended to 19 March
Government has announced that thousands more employees will able to receive support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

To qualify and to protect against fraudulent claims, individuals originally had to be employed on 28 February 2020.

But following a review of the delivery system and to ensure the scheme helps as many people as possible, new guidance confirmed the eligibility date has been extended to 19 March 2020 – the day before the scheme was announced.

Employers can claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.

This means that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.

This change makes the scheme more generous while keeping the substantial fraud risks under control and is expected to benefit over 200,000 employees.

The scheme is due to be fully operational next week.

Cleaning of cabs
Cleaning helps minimise the spread of Coronavirus. Use of specialist products doesn’t affect the necessity for frequent cleaning – normal cleaning methods do kill this virus.

Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces frequently using your company’s standard cleaning products. Hard surfaces that are touched often – door handles, steering wheels, gear sticks – should be cleaned more frequently in addition to standard cleaning protocols.

Normal cleaning frequencies will need to be increased.

For example, if there is a high level of usage, the normal cleaning frequency should be doubled, and particularly when vehicle crews change over.

Staff should also be reminded of the need for good hand and respiratory hygiene, and to avoid touching their face.
Staff who are unwell with symptoms of Coronavirus should not be working.

Staff who are in a vulnerable group should be supported to follow social distancing guidance. Staff who are in an extremely vulnerable group should be shielded and supported to stay at home.

Further guidance is available here.

Cab sharing
It is unlikely that maintaining the recommended 2 metre distance in a vehicle cab will be possible so ideally there should be only one person in the cab.

Where this is not possible, workers should keep the window open for ventilation and should be careful to avoid touching their face at all times.

Facing away from each other may help to reduce the risk of transmission. Where face-to-face contact is essential, this should be kept to 15 minutes or less wherever possible.

They should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or longer before getting into, or after getting out of, the vehicle, or use hand sanitiser.

Remind staff to catch coughs and sneezes in tissues. Provide hand sanitiser and tissues and encourage staff to use them.

As far as possible, where staff are split into teams, organise these in such a way that where contact is unavoidable, it happens between the same individuals.

Keep teams as small as possible. Spread out standard processes, so that only one team is needed to complete a task at a given time.

Staff should still be advised to maintain a 2-metre distance from each other as much as possible.
Further guidance can be found at:
Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Social distancing in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19): sector guidance
Social distancing, keeping businesses open and in-work activities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak