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#COVID-19: guidance for grooms

Page updated on 12th November 2020

With the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, information and advice from Government can change quickly. For all the latest Government information on COVID-19 and the measures the Government, and Devolved Governments, are taking, please visit the UK Government website, the Scottish Government website, the Welsh Government website or the Northern Irish Government website.

The information below is kept under continuous review and is updated often, please be sure to check the COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses from the Government for the latest updates.


On this page 

Working safely
Minimise the risk of injury 
Lockdown - what do we know
Riding and caring for horses
Advice for freelancers
Support for the self employed
Advice for employed
Your mental health 

 


  

Lockdown #2

On 31st October, the Government announced that England would go into a second lockdown from Thursday 5th November and remain in place until Wednesday 2nd December. 

*Information provided on 06/11/2020. This is from the guidance provide by British Equestrian

CAN Grooms STILL Go TO WORK?

Yes. Grooms can go to work as they are not able to 'work from home'. Freelancers can continue to operate and provide services, as they also can not work from home. 

All staff should adhere to strict social distancing measures and enhanced biosecurity guidelines.

CAN I Be Furloughed?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended for an additional four-week period, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. All employers are able to access the scheme as long as they have a PAYE scheme in operation from 30th October 2020.

Employees will receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Employers can operate either a flexible furlough (whereby the employee works reduced hours and is furloughed for hours not worked) or a full furlough (whereby the employee does not work throughout the furlough period).

The employer will be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions. 

I WORK IN A RIDINaG SCHOOL or LIvery yard

We received an update late on Thursday from Defra and DCMS via the British Horse Council and British Horse Society following our combined request for clarification on the recent legislation concerning the National Restrictions now in force across England and how they impact on the training in the equestrian community.

 The Defra Animal Welfare Team has now confirmed the following:

The key points are: 

  • Riding centres/schools cannot reopen to deliver lessons unless these form part of the core curriculum of formal education or professional/work-related training/development. This includes 1-1 training sessions. 
  • Employees of the riding centre may continue to visit the premises to maintain the property, and care for the animals located there, including to exercise them.  
  • You can continue to attend a riding centre/school to care and exercise a horse where you are the owner, loaner or carer of that horse.
  • You may continue to exercise, including riding, a horse you own or care for in a public outdoor place as part of outdoor recreation. This can be within your same household or support bubble, or in a 1-1 meeting with one other person you don't live with.  
  • You are permitted to leave your home to care or exercise an animal or horse where they are not kept at home.
  • You can leave home to seek advice about the health or welfare of your horse including veterinary, farriery, dentistry and physiotherapy treatments
  • Farriery, veterinary and physiotherapy treatments can continue.
  • When visiting a livery yard or stables you should avoid unnecessary social contact and gathering with people who you do not live with.

We would advise any facility to work with their local authority and insurance providers to operate within the best interests for their businesses.

CAN I STILL TEACH ONE TO ONE AS A COACH?

Yes, but there are restrictions. 

  • You can give lessons on a ONE-TO-ONE basis, to a group that constitutes the same social bubble or as part of a formal training and education. Formal training comprises courses such as the CIEC, BHS, BTEC etc. Education could include where a school regularly books a riding as part of their curriculum.
  • The external hire of equestrian facilities is not permitted under the legislation so you may not travel to a venue and pay to ride on the premises (arenas, farm tracks, gallops, jumps, cross country schooling, etc.). Venues which normally offer this service should suspend hire for the duration of the lockdown.

I Work on a LIVERY YARD - HOW WILL THIS AFFECT ME?

We would advise that as per lockdown #1 you have a staggered rota for clients with time slots and that you tighten all bio security on the yard. Ensure that face coverings are worn in communal areas such as tack rooms, that hands are washed and sanitised on a regular basis and sharing equipment is minimal.

WHAT ARE RULES REGARDING RIDING?

Outdoor exercise (individual or with members of their household (own or linked), or one other person who is not a member of their household) is permitted in a public outdoor place.

This should be done for exercise purposes only (horse welfare) and ideally start and end at the yard where the horse is kept.

We would advise taking extra measures to ensure this remains as safe as possible.

Hacking is allowed. 

ARE COMPETITIONS AND ORGANISED TRAINING PERMITTED?

No, All competition and organised training has been suspended by British Equestrian.

The external hire of equestrian facilities is not permitted under the legislation so you may not travel to a venue and pay to ride on the premises (arenas, farm tracks, gallops, jumps, cross country schooling, etc.).

Venues which normally offer this service should suspend hire for the duration of the lockdown.

SCOTLAND 

In addition to the five-tier system introduced last week by the Scottish First Minister, sportscotland and horsescotland have released further guidance around travel restrictions. The overall message is that you should avoid travel to other areas, regardless of their level, unless this is deemed to be essential.

For exercise/sport, there are exemptions; however, these are very limited:

  • You may travel freely for exercise within your own Local Authority area.
  • Level 0, 1, or 2 areas – you should minimise unnecessary journeys between areas in different levels and avoid any unnecessary travel to places in Level 3 or Level 4 areas.
  • Level 3 – you are permitted to travel approximately five miles outside of your own Local Authority area for exercise, but you should not go into a Level 4 area.
  • Level 4 – you are not permitted to drive outside of your Local Authority area for exercise, but are permitted to cross boundaries to exercise– for example, a circular riding, walking or cycling route.

Anyone organising events for under-18s may continue to do so across Levels 0–3. Under-18s may travel freely for exercise at Levels 0–3, but should not travel in or out of a Level 4 area. Parents/carers may drive and accompany under-18s to their activity, but should not participate.

These restrictions mean that equestrians in Level 3 areas will now not be allowed to travel outside of their local authority area beyond a five mile radius for training and competitions. Likewise, those residing in Level 0–2 areas should not travel into Level 3 area for training and competitions.

For further information please visit HorseScotland

WALES 

The First Minister in Wales recently announced a number of national restrictions that will be in place for the two-week period after the current firebreak has concluded, in order to consolidate the impact of the lockdown.

From Monday 9 November, the following measures will apply:

  • Two households will be able to join together to form a bubble or extended household. Only this group will be able to meet inside people’s homes
  • There will be new arrangements to meet indoors in other settings:
    • Up to 15 people will be able to meet to take part in indoor activities
    • Up to 30 people will be able to participate in outdoor activities
  • All business venues that have been closed since 23 October will be able to open again

There will be no travel restrictions inside Wales, but travel will not be permitted outside Wales without a reasonable excuse during the lockdown in England. Those who live in England and travel to Wales for work will be permitted to do so as a reasonable excuse. A 'restricted list of essential purposes' will be introduced, which will allow people to travel between the countries.

USEFUL LINKS

GOV.WALES – new COVID measures from 09.11.20

GOV.WALES – FAQs for measures from 09.11.20

 


Download essential travel template

If you would like to have this in your car, it might help if anyone questions your travel. 



Working safely

Coronavirus is with us for sometime and it is important that your employer provides a safe working environment for you. 

Here some of your questions will be answered and also advice for lockdowns

work safely

Your employer must consider how you can work safely to protect their staff, themselves, the clients and their family if they also live on site. 

It is THEIR responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe. If the workers feel that the yard has not taken steps to be coronavirus safe, they have a right to not work until the correct measures are put in place. 

  Read the Governments advice on working safely during coronavirus if outdoors

There might have been no changes at all during the first lockdown, as in it has been business as usual, however these following steps are still relevant for any employer or yard manager to consider:  

Adhere to the Government's rules on social distancing and washing hands. 

Stagger staff lunch breaks and where possible provide an outside rest area. Communicate to clients that all communal areas are for employees only. 

Consider ways to make the toilet facilities as safe as possible with strict biosecurity measures in place. 

Everyone needs to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19. An employer, has a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety. This means they need to think about the risks they face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising one cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.

A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace. A risk assessment will help an employer to decide whether they have done everything they need to. 

Use the EEA Risk Assessment Creator to write a bespoke version for your yard. 

Arrange a meeting with the staff to allow them to voice any concerns they may have on either the restrictions of lockdown being lifted, and/or additional individuals attending the yard. (you could suggest this to your employer)

Yard equipment really must if possible not be shared. If it is eg. wheelbarrows, ensure that it is disinfected after person 1 use. At the end of each working day, a thorough clean of all equipment, communal areas and door handles and locks should happen. 

Insist the clients use their own grooming kits and each worker has their own grooming kit which is not shared - this especially important for freelancers. 

Write a yard protocol on biosecurity and social distancing and communicate this to employees, clients and anyone visiting your yard. 

When tack is being used by more than one person, it must be cleaned after use by person 1 using an appropriate disinfectant (either in the water, wipe or spray) before saddle soaping.  

Consider clients not entering the tack room and instead staff placing the equipment outside the stable ahead of their allocated time slot. Staff should wash their hands before and after touching the tack. 

Ensure employees and clients ride and train within their current capabilities. 

To reduce the number of people on yard at any one time, create allocated time slots for clients and maintain segregation of workers. 

Complete the ABRS Certificated E-Learning Course on Safe Working Practices whilst Exiting Lockdown

The online course is designed for equestrian centre owners and their staff to ensure that they are fully prepared and feel confident in the transition phase and takes just 15 minutes to complete and is free - just email office@abrs-info.org  including the name and email address of each participant to take part. 



Can liveries come 

Yes. Livery yards who had closed to clients can consider relaxing attendance rules but with rota/number restrictions/hygiene/social distancing as required. This will be at owners’ discretion as some may be vulnerable/shielding.

Can i coach clients at my yard or travel to

Yes for with social distancing. Coaches to put necessary measures, risk assessments and safeguarding provision in place.
*1st November update- still awaiting clarity on this. 

 

Can I travel to my clients yard to teach or groom

Yes. You can travel to yards to teach or groom with social distancing. Coaches to put necessary measures, risk assessments and safeguarding provision in place.
*1st November update- still awaiting clarity on this. 


Is sharing equipment now safe

No - you must adhere at all times to the same levels of handwashing and biosecurity as at the peak of the virus.  

FIRST AID CONSIDERATIONS

It is important to consider how to support and protect first aiders with the current risks associated to COVID-19. 

Medi- K have recommended visiting the resuscitation guidance for first aiders and from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).  

 

 

Can I minimise the risk of injury

Riding horses is just one way of getting injured, so what can you do to minimise the risk and help to protect our NHS?

There are a lot of fit horses currently that can’t just be turned away, which increases the risk even more of injuries happening.

Unfortunately, accidents can and will still happen - so be extra cautious during this time period.

10 critical tips to follow 


Make sure you wear a hat. And not just for riding. Being on the floor is just as dangerous as riding and even if you don’t normally then wear a hat for turn out, lunging etc then now is a really good time to start.

Although the focus is very much on COVID-19, don’t forget that **it still happens – now more so than ever. Your BGA personal accident membership is there to protect you and your livelihood should you get injured and are unable to work. Don't work without it. (it is going to cost you just £11.79 for Silver membership for this month)

Ditch those trainers for some correct footwear. Yes trainers might be more comfortable, but they offer very little in the way of protection should you get trodden on.

Wear gloves - for everything. Whether you are turning out, lunging, leading, have those gloves on for a little bit of extra protection and grip. 

If you are in the stable to muck out, tack up or groom then tie them up. Even the quietest of horses can get a fright. Even if you don’t normally, it is worth doing it for the time being.

Risk assess. This sounds obvious but each situation is individual so it is up to you to make a decision based on safety… it really is better to be safe than sorry. For example if you have a really fresh horse (which needs exercise for whatever reason), then could you either lunge them, or turn them out first and ride later. Consider wearing a body protector even if you wouldn’t normally. Don’t take any unnecessary risks.

Communicate. If you are concerned about a situation or a particular horse then speak to the rest of your team or your boss (safely of course), so that you can come up with a plan together to prevent anyone from potentially getting hurt. This might be something as simple as deciding to turn out in a bridle for extra control.

Stick to a routine. Horses are creatures of habit and love routine. Taking them out of their usual routine may leave them feeling unsettled and more likely to be more reactive. Instead try to keep their daily lives as normal as possible.  

Stay healthy. Accidents are more likely to happen if you feel tired or unwell as your concentration slips. Make sure that you are looking after yourself, eating well and regularly throughout the day, and by getting enough sleep so that you are at your best throughout your working day.

Remember your biosecurity advice which includes hand washing and not sharing tools. This is so important for us all to do our bit in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. Yes we all love a good catch up in the tack room, but now is not that time. Keep in touch with people digitally instead.

 

BGA INsurance - is it still covering me

Your BGA personal accident insurance is not a sickness cover and does not cover you for COVID-19. 

It is crucial that you maintain your BGA policy to ensure you remain covered in the case of an accident, as they still will happen during this time.

In fact, potentially with fit fresh horses not being exercised as they normally might do, we are concerned that grooms might have more chance of getting injured. 

A fracture or break would see you off work for many more months than Coronavirus. If you do not have cover, consider joining or upgrading today to protect your income.  

Can I pause my BGA Liability Insurance 

Yes you can. 

Why would I pause it and not just cancel it if I am not working?

If you cancel and restart you would have to go through the whole application process again and may not necessarily be able to get the policy set up straight away.

If you pause the policy we can get cover back in place immediately with one phone call. In addition by pausing the policy you guarantee the annual premium, if you cancel and take out a new policy your premium would be subject to any rate increases that have been applied.

What will the cost be 

Your annual premium will be reduced by 85% on a pro rata basis so that you continue to pay a small amount to keep the policy in place. Unfortunately we cannot confirm exactly what the cost will be as this will differ from person to person but if you contact KBIS they should be able to talk you through it.

The end of policy/renewal date will still be the same. 

You do not have to pay the financial difference at the end of the policy.  You will only pay the 15% whilst the policy is suspended. Then this will be increased on a pro rata basis when you decide to lift the suspension.

Please note that we cannot guarantee the monthly payments will return to exactly what they were, this is because the premium increase will be calculated to the day rather than on a monthly basis.

How do i do pause my liability insurance

Call KBIS on 0345 230 2323 select option 4 and one of the liability team will be happy to discuss this with you.

Can I still work whilst it is paused

If you continue to work whilst the policy is suspended there will be no cover in place for any claims made against you under this policy.  

The policy can be reinstated straight away by telephoning KBIS. The policy will start again from the moment you call.  



RIDING & CARING FOR HORSES

Please keep your own health and safety in mind, as well as that of everyone around you.

To help through these uncertain and ever-changing times, the BEF have put together some guidance for all around looking after and riding horses under the current requirements. 

STAYING SAFE




Do
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds. Avoid drying your hands on a communal towel.
  • Use hand sanitiser gel when you get back into your car. 
  • Avoid going to work if you are feeling unwell.
  • Self-isolate for at least seven days if you show any symptoms of coronavirus (even mild ones). If symptoms remain mild you do not need to call 111, but make sure you have made provisions for your own horse / dog (if applicable). 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hand), or you cough or sneeze.
  • Put the tissue in the bin straight away and wash your hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are unwell.
Don't
  • Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Eat before washing your hands.

GOING TO THE YARD

  • Keep visits to a minimum without compromising your horse’s welfare – consider a buddy system with another livery
  • Change into clean yard clothes
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water before leaving the house

AT THE YARD

  • Respect any restrictions put in place by the yard owner or manager – they are for your safety and their own. It’s their business and/or home.
  • Wash hands thoroughly on arrival – take soap and water with you if the facilities aren’t available
  • Maintain social distancing with other liveries and avoid common areas, such as tea rooms, as much as possible. Keep at least two metres apart at any time
  • Use your own equipment. If you need to use shared equipment such as wheelbarrows or hosepipes, disinfect the areas you’re touching or wear disposable gloves
  • Avoid activities that carry an increased risk of injury and consider wearing an up-to-standard riding hat while handling your horse
  • Assess your horse’s diet, and reduce energy intake according to the reduced levels of exercise you may be providing
  • Take advantage of feed, hay and bedding suppliers who offer a delivery service, and liaise with them closely to ensure that their service isn’t impacted. Make provision of essential supplies so you are prepared in the event of a shortage

LEAVING THE YARD

  • Keep your visit timely and avoid lingering – only carry out what’s necessary to ensure your horse’s welfare and wellbeing
  • Wash hands thoroughly before leaving the yard
  • If you have hand sanitiser that’s at least 60% alcohol, use it to clean your hands when you get into your car

arriving home

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap straight away
  • Have a specific ‘yard visit’ towel to dry your hands on
  • Get changed immediately into clean, fresh clothes

If you keep your horse(s) at home, many of these points, particularly around hygiene and clothing, should be observed.

PREPARE FOR SELF ISOLATION

Make a plan with your yard owner or manager, or your fellow liveries, for what will happen if you’re unable to get to the yard. If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 or if somebody in your household does, even if they’re only mild, do not visit your horse.

You will need to self-isolate for at least seven days or 14 in a shared household. If you have no alternative and it’s a question of welfare, you can attend to your horse but only as a last resort and within your own property boundaries when riding.

Are grooms key workers

Grooms are not identified as key workers in the governments list. 





Advice for Freelancers

Freelance grooms, and especially those who would normally be travelling abroad, may see a direct impact on their loss of earnings, or might find themselves very busy due to other key staff being unable to work. 

If i am self isolating or have COVID-19 do i get sick pay

Self-Employed Freelancers are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, however you can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees. 

Your BGA Insurance is a personal accident cover and thus unfortunately does not apply.

 

Financial assistance 

Key measures announced to help freelancers included:

  • For those that do not qualify for the Governments Self Employed package, the minimum income floor in Universal Credit (UC) is relaxed for those directly affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating, ensuring self-employed claimants will be compensated for losses in income. 
  • ‘New style’ Employment and Support Allowance  is payable for people directly affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating according to government advice for from the first day of sickness, rather than the eighth day
  • Introducing ‘Time to Pay’ arrangements - a time-limited deferral period on HMRC liabilities owed and a pre-agreed time period to pay these back – for businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax
  • HMRC will also waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulties contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19
 

HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need: 

The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 - and is an addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers.

Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm. 

 

CAN I STILL WORK IF a LOCK-DOWN

Yes. Grooms are classed as essential workers due to the welfare of animals in their care. 

HOW CAN I EARN MONEY 

Think about diversifying. Many supermarkets are heavily recruiting to provide logistics - although not ideal, this could be a temporary measure. 

I have no income

You could get Universal Credit on the basis of remaining at home on government advice: 
•    If you don’t qualify for Statutory Sick Pay or Employment and Support Allowance or 
•    you need additional help on top of SSP or New-style ESA.

People who need to claim Universal Credit because of coronavirus will not have to produce a fit note. Universal Credit is claimed online.

Self-employed claimants on Universal Credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus will not have a Minimum Income Floor  (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected. 

Minimise face to face contact

Where possible minimise your face to face interaction with your clients, instead set up an open communication via another channel such as Whatsapp, to communicate what needs to be done each day.

If face to face communication is unavoidable take the steps above to minimise the risk and ensure that you wash your hands regular, avoid small enclosed populated spaces, and touching your face. Avoid anyone you know is feeling unwell, even if you suspect it may just be a common cold.

Limit any direct contact by emailing your invoices and asking for bacs payments instead of cash.

 



SUPPORT FOR THE SELF EMPLOYED 

This support is available for those who are registered as self employed with HMRC and have submitted 2019 accounts.

Income tax payments due in July can be deferred to the end of Jan 2021 and is also possible to be paid via 'Time to Pay' across 2021 with no interest added. 

 

The employment status of grooms is critical in determining what government support is available at this challenging time.

If one has been told by an employer that they are ‘self-employed’, yet have not registered themselves as such with HMRC, sadly that individual will not be eligible for this self employed package NOR government support for the employed that are not required or unable to work i.e furlough.

We recommend applying for Universal Credit in this circumstance.

The details 

  • The Government have now announced the details of the new Self Employed Income Support Grant (and it is far less generous than the previous ones)...

    • The 3RD GRANT:
      If financially hit by Covid between 1st Nov 20 -31 Jan 21

      One-off full payment of 40% of profits for 3 months
      Same eligibility as first two grants ie filed tax return for 2018/2019

      You can claim if you hadn't done so before (remember applications for the 2nd Grant are still open)

    • THE 1ST GRANT
      The government will pay self-employed people, who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus, a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last 3 years, up to £2,500 per month in Phase 1. 
    • It’s only open to those with trading profits up to £50,000, who make a majority of their income from self-employment. To minimise fraud only those already in self-employment, who have a tax return for 2019 can apply.

    • THE 2ND GRANT
      Phase 2 was based on the same figures as the previous claim, however the amount payable this time will be 70% of average profit, rather than 80%, so expect your payment to be lower than last time. The eligibility criteria is exactly the same, so if you were eligible for the first round you will be again, and unfortunately vice versa. Again, the grant will be included in your taxable income for 2020/21.

How do I access it

  • HMRC have created an online tool to find out if you’re eligible to make a claim through the self-employed income support scheme.
    You’ll need your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number and your National Insurance number. Check if you are eligible: https://bit.ly/2WyBKsi
  • If eligible, HMRC will contact you with an online form, they pay the grant straight to your bank account.

I am employed and self employed

I am registered both employed and self-employed, which Government support applies to me?

This scheme is only open to those who make a majority of their income from self-employment

Do i have to be registered with the HMRC

Yes you do.

If you are not registered as self employed with HMRC then you do not qualify for this support. We recommend that you look at applying for Universal Credit.

What happens if I only recently registered with hmrc

To apply for this support you need to have been registered as self-employed and have a tax return for 2019. 

If you fall outside of this time frame then you will need to apply for Universal Credit.

I am not sure if i am in fact registered with hmrc

To be self-employed you will be registered with HMRC, submit your own tax return and pay your own National Insurance/Income Tax.

If you are not registered as self employed, then unfortunately this Government support is not available to you and you will need to register for Universal Credit.

I have been told by my employer that i am self employed

Your employer can not tell you that you are self-employed. If you work for just one person then you will be employed by them.

There are certain stipulations that you need to meet to self-employed, (such as being registered as self employed with HMRC, setting your own working hours, issuing invoices for work done and paying your own income tax/National Insurance).

If these do not apply to you then you have a false employment status.

If you are not registered as self employed, or employed (this is where you employer pays your tax and national insurance contributions out of your income), unfortunately you will need to register for Universal Credit

what is universal credit and does it apply to me

Universal Credit is government support for those who don’t qualify for the self employed, or employee packages.

You could get Universal Credit on the basis of remaining at home on government advice:

  • If you don’t qualify for Statutory Sick Pay or Employment and Support Allowance or
  • you need additional help on top of SSP or New-style ESA.

As there is at least a five-week wait before you get Universal Credit, you can get help from day one through a Universal Credit Advance Payment.  Advance payments have to be paid back out of your Universal Credit payments .and must be paid back within 12 months.

People who need to claim Universal Credit because of coronavirus will not have to produce a fit note. Universal Credit is claimed online.

Self-employed claimants on Universal Credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus will not have a Minimum Income Floor  (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected.

 


Advice for employed

Carrying over annual leave

The Working Time Regulations have been amended to allow for carry-over of annual leave that has not been taken due to COVID-19.

This rule only applies to the 4 weeks of statutory annual leave (or the worker’s pro-rata entitlement) that is derived from the EU Working Time Directive. It does not apply to the additional 1.6 weeks’ statutory leave that workers are entitled to under domestic law, or any additional leave they may be entitled to in accordance with their contracts.

These 4 weeks of leave can only be carried-over where it was ‘not reasonably practicable’ for a worker to take some or all of this leave in the leave year in which it is due, because of the ‘effects’ of COVID-19. We are told that these ‘effects’ include effects on the worker, the employer or the wider economy or society.

No guidance has been provided as to what is “not reasonably practicable”. This is likely to be fact-sensitive for each worker. Presumably the ability to take leave must be genuinely and significantly affected by COVID-19.

Such carried-over leave may be taken in the 2 leave years immediately following the leave year in which it was due. Should the worker’s employment be terminated before they take this carried-forward leave they can receive a payment in lieu for it.

80% WAGE COVER - FURLOUGH

 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was a temporary scheme open to all UK employers and started on 1 March 2020 and was operational until the end of October, it has now been extended until December. 

Employers that bring workers back from Furlough and retain them in employment until the end of January 2021 will qualify for a £1,000 bonus for each employee. 

 

Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months.

Employers will have to pay for a minimum of 20% of usual hours worked, and 5% of hours not worked.

The government will now fund 62% of the wages for hours not worked .This more than doubles the maximum payment to £1,541.75. In the most generous case, the taxpayer will now go from funding 22% of wages to just under half.

Can I Lose my job because of CoronaVirus

If you have been in your current employment for under two years then yes, your boss can terminate your employment, provided your notice period (as set out in your contract) is paid.

If you have been in your employment for over two years then your employer can still terminate your contract and may look at offering either formal redundancy, or dismissal based on ‘Some other substantial reason’.  

CAN I TAKE EXTENDED UNPAID LEAVE

Yes, you can offer to have time off work and not get paid for it. Your boss doesn’t have to accept this. Make sure you have this offer in writing and a return to work date.

MY EMPLOYER WANTS ME TO USE MY HOLIDAY

Regulation 15 of the WTR allows for this compulsion, but notice must be given of twice as many days as the days to be taken. For example if your employer would like you to take 14 days holiday then they must give you 28 days notice.

I have been asked to reduce my hours

Employees can be laid off under statutory lay off provisions and so your employer is entitled to do this.

I am an apprentice & worried about my training

We would advise speaking to your training provider who will be able to help and support you.

I feel ill. My employer wants me to still work 

Employees should take time off work if they are ill. Government is clear that employers should support their staff’s welfare, especially during an extended response

Self-isolation and sick pay

Employees must receive any Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to them if they need to self-isolate because:

  • they have coronavirus
  • they have coronavirus symptoms, for example a high temperature or new continuous cough
  • someone in their household has coronavirus symptoms
  • they've been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111

If someone has symptoms and lives alone, they must self-isolate for 7 days. 

If someone lives in a household and is the first to have symptoms, they must self-isolate for 7 days. Everyone else in their household must self-isolate for 14 days.

If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, the person with the new symptoms must self-isolate for 7 days. This is regardless of where they are in the 14-day isolation period. 

Will I get SSP if self-isolating?

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the Government have announced that they will fund SSP for two weeks of employees and it can be paid immediately (ie no waiting days). 

Employees that are on a benefit (Working Tax Credit, Income Support etc.) will be eligible for a £500 Government grant if they have to self isolate. 

 

What is layoff and short time working

Your employer might need to close down their business for a short time, or ask staff to reduce their contracted hours.

Employees who are laid off and are not entitled to their usual pay might be entitled to a 'statutory guarantee payment' of up to £29 a day from their employer.

This is limited to a maximum of 5 days in any period of 3 months. This is not a great solution as coronavirus is probably going to last for 6 more months minimum!

On days when a guarantee payment is not payable, employees might be able to claim Jobseekers Allowance. 



Your Mental health 

Your mental health matters and at a time when everything seems a little uncertain it is important to stay in communication with those around you.

If you are feeling worried or out of sorts then have a look at Grooms Minds, our online support to help you. As a BGA member you also have access to our Groom’s Minds Support Line – supported by Racing Welfare, is a free telephone helpline, open 24 hours a day. 

Remember at this time your friends and colleagues may also be struggling so reach out and stay in contact. Here at the BGA we are open as normal and here to chat and help where we can.  




Useful advice 

As the coronavirus continues to spread keep up to date with advice from the NHS who has detailed information on staying safe, and symptoms.

The BEF will issue regular statements from Member Bodies regarding their standing on the situation and events.

If you have a question that is not answered please get in touch - we are here to help you. 

 

 



 

What the personal accident policy covers you for:

  • Whilst at work
  • All stable duties – mucking out, grooming, washing off, turning out
  • Clipping
  • Riding – including hacking and jumping
  • Hunting
  • Lunging
  • Breaking in
  • Holding horse for a vet and other procedures
  • Travelling horses both in the UK and abroad
  • Competing in line with your job including: jumping, dressage, eventing
  • Injuries that may happen to you whilst you are teaching - but you must also be grooming as part of your duties and not be a sole instructor

What the personal accident policy doesn’t cover you for:

  • Riding in a race, point to point or team chase
  • Stunt Riding
  • Accidents occurring whilst travelling to and from work
  • Riding and competing your own horse (but you can upgrade when applying for membership to include this)
  • Public Liability – this is a separate insurance policy - the Freelance Groom Liability Insurance
  • Care Custody and Control – this is a separate policy - the Freelance Groom Liability Insurance

If you require additional cover then please contact KBIS directly.

   GROOM  RIDER  EMPLOYER

When you are working for other people you do most of the following; muck out, turn out/catch in, tack up, groom horses, exercise Horses (including hacking, jumping and schooling), in the care of your employer/client.

 
YES

 
NO

 
NO

Predominantly ride horses for other people including schooling, exercising and competing.   
NO
 
YES

YES
 Provide grooming services for someone else either full time or on a freelance basis i.e. an employer or a client.   
YES

NO

NO
Employ staff – have an employers liability policy in your name NO NO YES
Buy and sell horses NO YES YES
 

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