BEIS Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Business & Employers Bulletin – OPSS Update

Please find below the latest Businesses and Employers bulletin from BEIS:

This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides the latest information for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19). All coronavirus business support information can be found at gov.uk/business-support

You are reminded under current legislation anyone who can work from home must work from home and businesses are expected to adhere to this requirement.

•    Government opens further COVID-19 testing locations for hauliers heading to France
•    Business Support
•    New Guidance
•    Business Support Helpline
•    Updated guidance
•    Other useful links

Government opens further COVID-19 testing locations for hauliers heading to France

Government has taken further steps to help hauliers get tested before they travel to Kent or any port heading to France, to reduce disruption for drivers as they carry goods across the Channel. The Transport Secretary announced on Saturday, 2 January 2021:

  • 10 new testing centres for HGV drivers to open across the country, with more opening over the course of the week, with the Army deployed to offer support;
  • Additional support for haulage firms to establish their own testing centres at depots, with kits provided free of charge;
  • HGVs using Dover and Eurotunnel will get fast-tracked past queues, if they get tested before arriving in Kent;
  • Hauliers are urged to ensure they have the correct documentation in order, including Kent Access Permits, before arriving in Kent, to ensure they can cross the channel.

To view the statement, click here.

Business Support

Coronavirus (COVID‑19) support is available to employers and the self-employed, including sole traders and limited company directors. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants, whether your business is open or closed.

Use the Covid checker tool to find out what coronavirus financial support is available for your business here.

A list of financial support measures for businesses during coronavirus is available here.

New Guidance

Guidance for employers and workers on work absences due to coronavirus (COVID-19): This guidance is for employers and their employees or workers who may not be able to go into work because:

  • they’re self-isolating
  • they’re clinically extremely vulnerable

and sets out the relevant legal framework around absence and the return to work.

For more information, click here.

Mental health support link:
https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

Business Support Helpline

There are new rules for businesses doing business with the EU from 1 January, and you need to take action now.  To help you, a helpline has been set up. For English businesses, the Business Support Helpline can help you identify the actions you need to take. Similar helplines are available for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

For more information for:

businesses in England, call 0800 998 1098

businesses in Scotland, call 0300 303 0660

businesses in Wales, call 0300 060 3000

businesses in Northern Ireland, call 0800 181 4422

For more information, including opening hours, click here.

Updated guidance

Reporting outbreaks of Coronavirus

Guidance is available for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of coronavirus. This information is contained within ‘action cards’ that have been designed for specific situations where an outbreak could occur. This could be a restaurant or office, or a construction site. The action cards are available by sector. For more information click here.

Testing for HGV drivers using the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel before leaving for France.

  • Guidance has been updated to reflect that HGV drivers leaving England for France can only cross the Channel with evidence of an authorised negative COVID test conducted within a 72-hour period before their departure. For more information, click here.
  • Testing at haulier advice sites: Free COVID tests for HGV drivers are now available at some haulier advice sites and will be available at more advice sites soon. Haulier advice sites are at motorway service stations and truck stops. Most haulier advice sites are open between 6am and 10pm, 7 days a week. To check if your nearest haulier advice site is offering free Covid-19 tests for drivers of HGVs, light goods vehicles, and vans, click here. here

For more information on testing for HGV drivers click here.

International road haulage: HGV and trailer documents

Check which documents you need to carry if you’re the driver or a passenger in a lorry or other heavy goods vehicle (HGV) that crosses international borders. Guidance has been updated to include new sections on the haulage licence and permit documents that you need to carry when visiting the EU including: a section on vehicle and trailer insurance to confirm the rules for carrying ‘green cards’; and a section on GB stickers to conform with the new rules on when they must be displayed. For separate guidance about the HGV driver documents you need for international road haulage, click here.

Other useful links

Some aspects of business support are devolved. Specific information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is available. In England, Growth Hubs can advise on local and UK Government business support.

OPSS Update: Conclusion of Negotiations

You will no doubt have heard the news that negotiations between the UK Government and the European Union have now concluded and a deal on future trade arrangements has been agreed.

As you will be aware, OPSS has made the preparations necessary for the effective functioning of the product safety and metrology system at the end of the Transition Period.

To help ensure business understand what is expected of them, including on issues such as the use of the UKCA marking, we have produced a range of guidance and advice, all of which is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-product-safety-and-metrology-from-1-january-2021.

This now includes a ‘What’s Changed?’ summary guide to key changes regarding the specific product safety and metrology legislation amended by The Product Safety and Metrology etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.

This guidance provides a clear indication of what rules and regulations you will be required to comply with now that the Transition Period has come to an end.

To be notified when new material is published on the OPSS pages of GOV.UK, you can sign up for OPSS email alerts via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-for-product-safety-and-standards – half way down, under ‘Latest from OPSS’, there is a ‘get email alerts’ button to click on.