Coronavirus - Continuity of Hire Operations
HAE EHA has been seeking detailed clarification from the Government on how the sector should maintain continuity of operations, but to date has not managed to get an absolute definition on whether the sector is considered as "essential".
However, it appears that any organisation and its team who is supporting the NHS, Rail, Petrochemical, Military, Government (local & national), Utilities etc in any way will be defined as "essential". This is not an exhaustive list and it is our understanding that local authority will have the final say on who qualifies. Members have been contacting HAE EHA with examples of this essential support and this has been helpful in illustrating the role being played by hirers.
We continue to try to gain greater clarity and will provide an update to members through our daily bulletin as soon as we are able and apologise that we are unable to gain more certainty at this stage.
With regards to maintaining services to clients we should highlight that the Government hasn’t ordered a shutdown of all business, they have at this time only singled out retail and social gatherings for immediate closure. The Government has a real underlying desire for as much business to be conducted as usual, but organisations should operate very closely within the rules of the social distancing policy.
In other words don’t have clients in your premises, be extra careful when collecting and delivering products and where possible have staff work remotely. Develop a safe operating procedure for drivers both collecting and delivering, also for maintenance teams and try to use technology for taking orders and communication. As many administrative staff as possible should be working remotely. Maintain regular contact with all remote workers to check on their welfare. You should also review the operational advice you give to all employees.
In terms of securing your financial position ensure you take advantage of the Government’s schemes to help in this unprecedented situation and if possible grant leave of absence to "unnecessary" staff.
HAE EHA continues to communicate directly with Government and other trade bodies to gain improved clarification and certainty. The longer business can operate safely the better the long term outcome, both from a health and finance perspective.