Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vehicle lessons

Published: 27 Jul 2020
Last updated: 29 Jul 2020 - see all updates

Guidance on the safe re-start of motorcycle lessons.

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): vehicle lessons
Workforce planning

Workforce planning

Workforce planning

Consideration should be given within the risk assessment as to whether sector restart might have greater impact on some groups than others depending on social circumstances, health conditions or legally protected characteristics.  The Equality and Human Rights Commission can provide advice on a range of issues such as non-discrimination, communication with employees on equality issues, adjustments for disabled people, support for pregnant employees, flexible working for those with caring responsibilities, support for employees affected by domestic abuse, how to deal with harassment at work, and mental health issues.  

Employers still have legal obligations to make sure that decisions they make in response to Coronavirus do not directly or indirectly discriminate against employees with protected characteristics. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced guidance to help with decision-making as you consider restarting work.

Close the Gap, through their 'Think Business Think Equality' toolkit, have produced guidance on employers supporting employees affected by domestic abuse during the pandemic and a more general online self-assessment resource for employers on domestic abuse. The  RNIB  also provide information on employing partially sighted and blind workers during COVID, and a COVID risk assessment tool.

Workforce support

Supporting those who should come to work, and those who should not 

Nobody should go to work if their workplace is closed under current government regulations.

As a minimum we expect:

  • working from home to continue, where possible. Read our guidance on working from home
  • health factors to be considered in any phasing of who returns to work, with employees living in vulnerable or shielded households only expected to return when new safe working environment measures have been implemented and a return to onsite work is consistent with individual medical advice
  • employees who are shielding should not physically attend work for as long as the shielding advice is in place
  • employees who are not shielding but identified as at increased risk from COVID-19 are able to attend work in person but should strictly follow physical distancing measures
  • new arrangements to be tested and modified through collaboration between employers and employees and
  • companies to take travel to work and childcare considerations into account in decisions around a phased restart

Employee health and wellbeing

Employers should ensure the organisation culture is inclusive, with the aim that every employee should feel that they are returning to a supportive, caring and safe environment. The pandemic has had an unequal impact across the workforce, as different employee groups, and individuals, will have been affected in diverse ways according to factors such as their job role, and demographic/personal circumstances. Therefore, it is important organisations foster a fair and inclusive working environment that does not tolerate discrimination. There is also a risk of victimisation of those infected, suspected, or more vulnerable to COVID-19 which should be addressed.

The following guides from the Health and Safety Executive provide useful sources of information:

Individual health circumstances and protected characteristics should be considered and discussed with employees before prioritising who is asked to return to work and when.

This should recognise the protective measures required to minimise health risks to vulnerable or shielded workers or those living in vulnerable or shielded households, exploring whenever possible how these staff can work from home.

Consideration of health circumstances and protected characteristics should be given to this as part of the risk assessment process. 

Permission should be sought from individuals before collecting any information on health conditions of those within their household. 

It is important to take into account the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics. This could include involving and communicating appropriately with workers whose protected characteristics might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or any steps taken may be inappropriate or challenging for them.

Consideration should be given as to whether any particular measures or adjustments are required to fulfil duties under the equalities legislation. Reasonable adjustments should be made to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage, and the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers should be assessed.

It is important to make sure the steps implemented do not have an unjustifiably negative impact on some groups compared to others, for example, those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.

For example given that there is some evidence which suggests that COVID-19 may impact disproportionately on some groups (Minority Ethnic communities), employers should ensure that Occupational Health Service provide practical support to Minority Ethnic staff, particularly where they are anxious about protecting themselves and their families.

Protecting people who are higher risk

Those identified as being at increased risk from COVID-19 are those following physical distancing advice more stringently. As they are at higher risk of severe illness (for example, people with some pre-existing conditions) they have been asked to take extra care in observing physical (social) distancing.

The shielding category consists of those who have been identified as being at the highest risk from severe illness from COVID-19.

Individuals in the shielding category have been advised not to work outside the home, and this will continue until such times as the general advice to shield is paused. See NHS Inform for further information. 

People who live with someone who is shielding are not advised to stay away from work; however, they should be supported to stringently follow physical distancing guidance. 

Those identified as being at increased risk from COVID-19 are those following physical distancing advice more stringently. As they are at higher risk of severe illness (for example, people with some pre-existing conditions) they have been asked to take extra care in observing physical (social) distancing.

People who live with someone who is at increased risk are not advised to stay away from work, but as above, should be supported to stringently follow physical distancing guidance. 

Workers who are shielding should not be compelled to attend work outside the home for as long as the shielding advice is in place.  If workers who are shielded cannot work from home, companies should make arrangements to ensure those staff are not disadvantaged due to obeying medical advice. Companies should explore measures such as suspending the normal application of sickness or disciplinary procedures related to attendance in these cases. 

The shielding advice is in place until at least 31 July. If the shielding advice is paused after this, then those who were shielding would be categorised as at increased risk and should follow physical distancing measures more stringently than the general population, and be risk assessed to ensure they can do this.  The default position should remain that wherever possible, people should work from home and should only return to the workplace where they can do so safely.

If those at increased risk (but not in the shielding category) cannot work from home, they should be offered the option of the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to maintain physical distancing. Workplace activities should be carefully assessed to identify if they involve an unacceptable level of risk.

People who need to self-isolate

Individuals who are advised to stay at home under existing government guidance should not physically come to work. This includes individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 as well as those who live in a household with someone who has symptoms.

All workers should be supported to follow up to date health protection advice on isolation if they or someone in their household exhibits COVID-19 symptoms. Advice within workplaces should continually remind workers of the symptoms to look for and clear advice should be provided on how to respond if symptoms become apparent while at work.

In line with Test and Protect everyone should follow the NHS Inform guidance on self-isolation if they or anyone in their household shows coronavirus symptoms.

Advice for employers on helping staff who need to self-isolate is also available.

Planning should recognise that ongoing physical distancing measures required to reduce the spread of the virus may mean that the number of employees able to be accommodated safely in the workplace is limited. The workforce may have questions or concerns about returning to work. Companies are encouraged to work with trade union or workforce representatives to enable individuals to work from home while self-isolating, if appropriate. If able to work from home, employees should continue to do so after a period of self-isolation has ended. 

Pay for workers who are sheltering, self-isolating, sick or balancing care responsibilities is likely to be a source of concern for employees. Companies should work with trade union or workforce representatives to provide early guidance to workforces on processes and support for individuals affected by these issues. Again opportunities to facilitate home working where feasible should be actively pursued and maintained.

Companies should also acknowledge the range of factors likely to cause stress or anxiety amongst employees, ranging from living with lockdown arrangements to concerns about travel, schools, caring responsibilities and relatives impacted by the virus, amongst others. This may have implications for mental health with managers encouraged to be conscious of how these factors may impact on the well-being of individual staff members. Companies and trade union or workforce representatives should be alert to this and direct anyone experiencing mental health issues towards available support.


First published: 27 Jul 2020 Last updated: 29 Jul 2020 -