The Latest Government Restrictions in the North-East
Please be aware that the further lockdown measures in North-East England announced by Government on September 17 DO NOT apply to the Tees Valley. The rules affect Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Northumberland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and the County Durham council area however Tees Valley’s five boroughs – Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees – remain unaffected.
All employers should ensure they follow Covid-19 Secure guidelines for the workplace, which can be found by clicking here. To reopen, businesses should ensure they follow these guidelines for their sector. People should aim to wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible.
Test and Trace
Government has launched a Test & Trace service to help stop the spread of the virus. It provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) to find out if they have the virus.
It gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had. It alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate from 14 days since their last contact with the infected person
For more information, click here.
Employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for coronavirus by following the COVID-19 Secure guidelines. You should encourage workers to heed any notifications to self-isolate and support them in self-isolation. For full workplace guidance for employers regarding Test and Trace, click here.
Government Support For Businesses
Government has put in place a number of support packages for businesses to help them reopen following the coronavirus pandemic. For information of all the help available, please click here.
The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a £2billion Kickstart Scheme which will put young people at the heart of the economic recovery by supporting the creation of six month paid work placements for young people aged 16-24 years of age. This is for any business across all sectors including the private, public and voluntary and community sectors.
For full details of the Kickstart Scheme please click here
Businesses that wish to employ 30 or more young people through the scheme can apply directly to the Government, for more information click here.
To support the many small and medium sized companies in the Tees Valley to access this support and create jobs, Mayor Houchen has pledged to act as a representative for any businesses who wish to offer less than 30 Job Placements.
In addition to acting as a representative for Tees Valley businesses the Tees Valley Combined Authority will also provide extended wrap around support for the young person to access skills training and support to ensure a positive progression once the Kickstart Job placement ends.
For further information, guidance and frequently asked questions, click here.
If you are an employer that wishes to engage with the Combined Authority to act as the representative, please click here.
All businesses and self-employed in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC on a case-by-case basis. Call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
The Pensions Regulator has also produced information for employers at this time, about automatic enrolment duties and maintaining pensions contributions, which also outlines information about the Government’s Job Retention Scheme and how this might impact payroll processes and pension contributions. It also includes a useful FAQ which it is regularly updating. Click here for more.
Furloughed employees can engage in training, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation. Furloughed employees should be encouraged to undertake training. Where training is undertaken by furloughed employees, at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage for this time. In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of an employee’s regular wage, up to the value of £2,500, will provide sufficient monies to cover these training hours. However, where the time spent training attracts a minimum wage entitlement in excess of the furlough payment, employers will need to pay the additional wages (see National Minimum Wage Section for more details).
Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and they can continue to train while furloughed. However, you must pay your Apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage (AMW/NLW/NMW) as appropriate for all the time they spend training. This means you must cover any shortfall between the amount you can claim for their wages through this scheme and their appropriate minimum wage.
Full guidance for businesses can be found here.
If you are a business who requires support during this difficult time, please fill out the form below.
For information on healthcare advice for employers, employees and business support, click here.
To support you it may be necessary to request some personal information from you, any information you choose to share with us will be dealt with under our data protection policy which can be found here.