Here’s what the workplace rules could be after the UK lifts lockdown

Monday, 4th May 2020, 1:14 pm
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 1:28 pm
A draft plan of the government’s workplace rules post-lockdown has been revealed to business groups and unions (Photo: Shutterstock)

A draft plan of the government’s workplace rules post-lockdown has been revealed to business groups and unions, with reduced hot-desking, working from home and shift staggering among the measures that could be introduced.

It comes ahead of the “roadmap” out of lockdown, which Boris Johnson is expected to reveal on Sunday 10 May.

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So what else could the new workplace rules include? Here’s what you need to know.

What will the new workplace rules mean?

The UK could look very different after lockdown, especially when it comes to business.

Businesses, employers and employees have had to adapt to new work practices since the UK lockdown was implemented on 23 March, with most people now working from home.

In a draft report seen by the BBC, once lockdown is lifted, employers will be urged to maximise the number of employees working from home, stagger shift times and minimise the number of people using equipment wherever possible.

Additional hygiene procedures, physical screens and the use of protective equipment should be considered where maintaining social distancing of two metres between workers is impossible.

Hot-desking, whereby multiple workers use one workstation or surface during different time periods, could also be reduced.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps reiterated that workplace times could be staggered.

Mr Shapps told the BBC that more buses and trains would run, and that by asking companies to stagger the working hours of employees, this could help to prevent crowded commutes.

Workers will also be encouraged to walk and cycle more.

Will workers have to wear protective equipment?

The section marked PPE simply states that "more detail" will follow.

Director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, Adam Marshall, called for "clear guidance" on whether employers needed to provide PPE.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme,"No business wants to be competing with the health services or with the care sector, for example, for PPE.”

When will the final workplace guidelines be decided?

Business groups and unions received the draft guidelines on Sunday 3 May, and have until 9pm on Monday to respond.The government will take into account the responses it receives when setting out the final rules.

When will lockdown restrictions be reviewed?

Lockdown restrictions will be reviewed on Thursday (7 May), and the prime minister is expected to reveal the “roadmap” out of lockdown on Sunday 10 May.

However, numerous officials have said that measures will not be lifted immediately, with any plans set to be phased in order to help prevent a second peak of the virus.

During the daily press briefing on May 3, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said that the UK would not be "flicking a switch and going... back to the old normal".

He said there would be "a phased approach... which allows us to monitor the impact that those changes are having on public health".