The guidance received from Government is that all print manufacturing businesses can remain open. This is the clarification issued on Tuesday (24 March) evening by the BAPC following an announcement from the Prime Minister on working directives during the COVID-19 measures currently in place in the UK.
The BAPC guidance went further. If your print business has a retail counter attached to it that is open to the general public, only this face to face element of your business needs to close, all your print production facilities are unaffected at this point.
You must though be making sure that staff are adhering to the NHS Guidance around hygiene in the workplace and instituting measures to ensure social distancing in break rooms, canteens and rest areas. You can find all the information and advice you need on this at the link here.
There are also additional resources for you to use at the Public Health England website.
All staff that can work from home should be advised to do so, and any staff that are essential to production and cannot work from home should be given a briefing on the above guidance and this briefing reiterated on a weekly basis to ensure standards are kept to the required level.
If you are a small- or medium-sized business, you may be entitled to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for sickness absence due to COVID-19:
This refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who are either ill or been told to self-isolate because of COVID-19. This is in line with the recommended isolation period. Guidance on self-isolation can be found here: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19.
Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible. The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as at 28 February 2020.
Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19.
Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. The eligible period for the scheme began on 13 March.
The Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.
The BAPC further reminded PSPs that the Government has now created two consolidated business advice portals, which will be updated daily.