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How soon can I go back to work after the coronavirus lockdown?

In Boris Johnson's new three-step plan, shops could reopen by June, and parts of the hospitality industry could do likewise in July

can i go back to work?
Many of those working from home are looking forward to a return to normal office life

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled a three-phase plan in a 50 page docuement, designed to act as a roadmap out of lockdown. Here, the current protocols and planned changes affecting business are outlined.

Who is now encouraged to work under the new advice?

The Government has said all those who cannot work from home should return to work. This group includes workers in food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories, as well as nannies and childcare providers. 

Mr Johnson said they should walk, cycle or drive and avoid public transport where possible.

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThose who are able to work from home are still encouraged to do so. Employees of closed businesses, such as non-essential retail and hospitality, are not required to return to work. 

Employers have been asked to implement a set of new “COVID-19 Secure” guidelines to keep the workplace as safe as possible, such as staggered shifts, social distancing and frequent cleaning. 

The Government's three-stage plan for exiting lockdown

What happens next?

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThis first part of the phased release of lockdown will be effective from Wednesday. People will also be able to spend unlimited amounts of time outside for leisure purposes, so long as they practice social distancing, and meet one member of another household in an outdoors location.

In phase two, which will take place no earlier than June 1, non-essential shops could be allowed to reopen, meaning sales staff could be required to return to work. Teachers could also be called back to work if schools are opened to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils. 

In phase three, which will start in July at the earliest, the plan is to open parts of the hospitality industry and other public places. Hairdressers and beauty salons, restaurants and pubs, places of worship and cinemas could be allowed to open, which would mean workers in these industries would go back to work. 

Mr Johnson bemoaned seeing "darkened pubs" but said they might not open until later, with industry estimates ranging from July through to winter or even early 2021.

The Prime Minister stressed the conditionality of the plan, saying the Government would be "driven by the science, the data, and public health".

Horticulture lovers are in for a treat, though, as the Government has allowed garden centres to reopen this week.

If I can work from home, should I?

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appYes. According to Government guidance, those who have the ability to work from home should do “for the foreseeable future”.

I've been furloughed, when can I return to work?

Nothing has changed here. When you are able to return to work is dependent on your employer, who has applied for you to be furloughed

However, the Government is set to announce the extension of the scheme until September, albeit paying 60pc of a monthly wage packet, not 80pc.

Edwin Morgan of the Institute of Directors said the minimum furlough period was three weeks. After an employee returns from furlough, they can be put back on furlough if necessary – again, for a minimum of three weeks.

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app"Ideally, going forward we’d want the system to become more flexible, particularly when restrictions start to lift, so that businesses are able to respond more agilely to demand,” Morgan says.

Under the furlough system, which currently sees the Government paying 80pc of wages up to £2,500 a month, workers are not allowed to undertake work for their company.

Are construction workers allowed to work?

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThe advice for construction and manufacturing workers is now unequivocally to go to work.

Other workers such as plumbers and engineers are still allowed to complete work, as long as social distancing guidelines are followed. However, individual companies may be setting their own guidance on resuming work.

How should I get to work?

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appIf you cannot work from home, the Government have asked those going to work to avoid using public transport where possible and instead travel by driving, walking or cycling. Although, as the economy restarts the Government acknowledges that transport use will increase. 

Companies are being encouraged to stagger working hours, and commuters are being asked to wear face coverings2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app while on public transport, and preferably home made ones. 

I'm worried about my health – am I allowed to work from home?

Government advice remains that vulnerable people should have zero social contact but many are finding they are still being told to go into work.

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appWhile you cannot force an employer to allow you to work from home, if you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks you have the right to apply for flexible working.

Employers must deal with your request in a "reasonable manner" according to the Government, which requires them to assess the advantages and disadvantages, as well as discussing the request with an employee. You are also entitled to an appeals process. 

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appIf the employer does not handle the case in a reasonable manner, the employee is entitled to take the employer to an employment tribunal.

A spokesman for Citizens Advice, a charity, said: "If you're worried about the risk to you of continuing to work, you can discuss it with your employer but they don't have to agree. If they are requiring you to come in, they still have a duty to protect your health and safety while working by making adaptations.

"For example you could ask to come in at different times to avoid the rush hour. Your employer may also close communal areas, provide sanitising equipment or reorganise the workspace so that you're not working near a colleague."