Here we go again, the UK has entered its third lockdown as it fights the Covid-19 pandemic. But what does this new lockdown mean for the electrical industry?
Well, thankfully, the new lockdown is virtually the same as the second lockdown in this regard, so we’ve refreshed our article from November to give you the low-down.
During the first lockdown in March, many businesses shut up shop hoping to slow the spread of the virus. There was also the issue with Government communication, which wasn’t exactly clear with who could open and under what conditions. There was also no notice for businesses between lockdown being announced and the rules coming into place. This time around, things are a little different.
Businesses across the UK are now used to living with Covid-19, and while more needs to be done to prevent the spread of the virus, that doesn’t mean the economy has to come to a screeching stop. In fact, the Government has been crystal clear that certain industries should remain open – and that includes the electrical industry.
Those in the electrical industry, including electricians and electrical contractors, will continue to be able to go to work under the new lockdown rules, although social distancing will need to be maintained. In fact, if you’ve been working under Covid-19 secure procedures prior to this latest lockdown, then it’s pretty much business as usual.
Can electricians still enter people’s homes under the latest Covid-19 lockdown?
The UK Government has been specific about the latest lockdown measures, noting that tradespeople are still able to work in other people’s homes during the latest lockdown. That means plumbers, electricians, gas engineers and just about any other tradesperson are allowed to continue working.
The specific guidance is that you may leave home for “work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes).”
Of course, it’s dependent on residents if they want to allow tradespeople in their homes during this latest lockdown, but legally, those in the electrical industry can continue working, as long as they are Covid-19 safe.
Will construction sites remain open for electrical contractors?
The UK Government wanted construction sites to remain open during the last lockdown, but many of the largest housebuilders still made the decision to lay down tools. In the immediate aftermath of the new lockdown being announced, housebuilders have faced large stock sell-offs, but they are free to remain open if they choose to.
If you are an electrical contractor working on a construction site, it’s best to keep in regular contact with that construction site. However, we don’t envision housebuilders or other building sites to come to a grinding halt this time around. Like with other jobs during Lockdown 2.0, there are Covid-19 safe procedures now in place, which weren’t there for the first lockdown.
What will happen if my construction site closes down or I’m furloughed?
Thankfully, the UK Government has made the decision to extend the furlough scheme, albeit under slightly different rules.
While the scheme originally covered 80% of a person’s salary up to £2,500, the new rules require employers to pay an employee’s national insurance and pension contributions.
That rule was technically introduced in August, with it having tapered ever since to mean the Government pays less and less towards furlough, but is now being reinstated under this new lockdown.
What happens if I was made redundant due to furlough ending in October?
Many employees were made redundant due to the winding down of the furlough scheme at the end of October. However, if you were still on the employment roll as of October 30, you can be re-employed and put straight on furlough.
Of course, furlough is set to end for good at the end of April, but it could be helpful for those who need that extra time to find work.
When will the new lockdown end?
When the first lockdown was announced in March 2020, there was no end in sight. In fact, it was three months before restrictions began to be lifted. This time around, there’s an end date of March. That’s not to say that it’ll definitely end then, however.
I have more questions, can you answer them?
If you have any more questions about the third lockdown, let us know in the comments. We’ll be sure to update this resource to answer any query you have.