Stay Alert, Control the virus, Save lives. Final mile fighting the pandemic – Last mile, final mile, express courier delivery to the door during Covid-19.

Coronavirus Final Mile – Express courier sector key status workforce are supporting stay-at-home isolation - from food delivery to prescriptions and home-worker tech.

IOC are asking the public for help - mark your door to complete food delivery without contact, ‘I am in, please knock and leave goods outside.

 

Carl Lomas IOC Chairman.

We are entering a period of finest hour for final mile delivery to support stay-at-home self-isolation. Our sector is being tested beyond any peak we have seen and that peak may be longest period on record. Driver safety at door is key. We are asking the public to mark their doors and help our sector complete the food delivery without contact.

 

Tracey Worth, IOC CEO,

Express courier supporting the client chain has proven resilience to deliver; from national networks to regional and local owner-operator couriers - all have an exceptional record to succeed. All need to communicate. Express courier will deliver for the UK.

 


Key workers in final mile last mile express are resilient and are delivering to the nation. Express & courier delivery links direct to supplier distribution centres which brings strength in sustained client chains for final mile. ‘Cough and you're off’ How will this impact the self-employed van driver? Final mile worker status focused on self-employment sees the owner-driver at the front line, both economically and for client. IOC Fellow Allan Blakely, Tuffnells says ‘it is our duty to deliver’.

 

Goods in final mile home delivery

The move from the office to home has seen a huge upturn of content on the express delivery chains. It’s not just food; pharmacy and medical, computers, chargers and comms; equipment is key to home working.

Resilience of the client chain is strong, as large express distribution centres have long been geographically matched to wide supply chain locations. Goods arrive into express chains efficiently, but express client chains depend on good access from distribution centres to local hubs.

Responsible online purchasing is a rising challenge and will create delivery pinch points if gone unchecked.

The key strategic questions

Pinch points in final mile last mile express courier

 

Doorstep Safety, a message to mark your door - proof of delivery - PPE

IOC Key worker identity certificate

Connecting final mile delivery resource to need

Access

Sharing 'best practice' during virus - Code of Practice v3.1

Compliance DfT MOT – driver licence testing

Employment advice on the express courier market

 


 

IOC chair of owner-operators group, Richard England FIoC, talks practical reality

Tips and advice at the front line of final mile.

 

I would recommend supplying drivers with the following items

1) Hand sanitising gel (Must contain at least 60% Alcohol)

2) Anti-bacterial handwipes

3) Tissues (Use it and Bin It)

4) Face masks, if possible

5) Key information about how to spot symptoms and what to do if you think you may have become infected

 

We have made the decision to not have our signature app used by customers, rather, the driver asks if the customer is satisfied with the delivery and would they mind if the driver signs it off. If others are using paper PODs, I would apply the same principle; get the driver to ask the receiver's name and fill it in themselves.

 

Keep drivers in the same vehicles as much as possible and keep them out of the office (parked up on their own).

Prepare to run your operation remotely, if office staff need to be isolated, can key people operate from home? Go through a test run with regards to group communication, software access and key information.

Here at The Courier Company Cambridge, we have invested in a laser thermometer to check our staff's temperature regularly.

We are also keeping vehicles topped-up with fuel as much as possible, just in case fuel does become short.

 


July 8th
 

TfL Wed Freight call – (update July 8th)

Vauxhall Bridge to close for critical works

Streetscape, Bishopsgate, Clapham High Street

Big changes for Hatton Cross – water main replacement 30 weeks

 

 

Exiting lockdown, vehicles are slowing down, inevitably placing more vehicles into the mix to get the same jobs done and choking the roads more while Streetspace works build. The operator request for the call was to extend 20 min times on loading bays to allow trucks supporting the supermarkets more time to unload. James Adcroft, Tesco assured trucks would not stay a moment longer than needed.

 

Janet Brown, ‘Proposal to close Vauxhall Bridge for safety-critical works, likely to start end of July. Diversion over Lambeth bridge for 4 months. Big impact to Nine Elms, this may also impact on proposed works for Streetspace set to take place. Hammersmith also under works at this time. Job similar to what was done at Westminster.'

 

TfL, Dr Andy Neather talked Streetscape. James Marshall explained Bishopsgate has slipped to late July for a cycle corridor. Restricting traffic to re-allocate wide footways and cycle space. Access has been key from the start of this project. The new bus gates are not physical, they are signs, out of the seven till seven hours you can pass normally. 7am to 7pm is bus only. Loading will be permitted in the other side of the sevens am and pm.

 

TfL have created a Wed freight Zoom call for trade associations and the IOC are invited. This week’s focus is on a big job coming up at Vauxhall Bridge and the slip to late July for Bishopsgate.

 

Dr Andy Neather TfL, ‘Congestion charges - We made a number of temporary changes to the central London Congestion Charge to help us get London moving safely and sustainably. The temporary changes are designed to reduce traffic in central London and enable more journeys to be made safely by foot or cycle, while keeping the bus network reliable for those making essential journeys. The temporary changes were applied as of Monday 22 June.

These changes included increasing the Congestion Charge to £15 per day, removing the £1 Auto Pay and Fleet discounts, and extending the hours of operation to between 07:00 and 22:00 seven days a week (excluding Christmas Day). The Residents' Discount will also be closed to new applicants from 1 August. These temporary changes to the Congestion Charge will be kept under review.

Streetspace For London - In line with our plans to create more space on the streets for people to walk or cycle while social distancing, there will be continuous updates to the layout of various roads. These changes include extending footways and bus and cycle lanes. While we don't expect the works to impact your journeys, we want you to be aware of the layout changes and will continue to provide a list of upcoming changes.

From end of June layout changes will be introduced to the following areas:

 

· Euston Road, Camden, work continues around Euston Road to make space for new cycleways and bus stop bypasses. The speed limit will be reduced from 30mph to 20mph. It will not be possible to turn left eastbound from Euston Road onto Ossulston Street and Charlton Street. Additionally, the westbound left turn from Euston Road onto Upper Wolburn Street will not be possible, this is to allow for safer cycleways. The new cycle route will connect with the existing cycle routes C6 at Judd Street and Gower Street.

 

· Clapham High Street, Lambeth - This week, we have worked on widening the footpaths on Clapham High Street to allow for social distancing. This work means the temporary removal of loading and parking bays outside of building numbers 21, 59-79 (Metro Bank) and 157-161. These measures will allow pedestrians additional space to social distance while walking through the area.

 

· Brompton Road, Kensington & Chelsea - Next week, we will be working on widening the footpaths on the south side of Brompton Road between building numbers 137-249, from the Hans Road junction to just after the Egerton Road junction. The loading bay between building number 187-191 (Emporio Armani) will be reduced to 15 metres long. The loading bay outside number 197-207 (Bunch of Grapes pub) will be reduced to 12 metres long. The pay and display parking area nearby on Yeoman's Road will be converted into a temporary 24hr loading and disabled parking bay. Additionally, the loading bays outside of building number 221-225 and 227-235 will be removed and the pay and display parking nearby on Egerton Terrace will be converted into a temporary 24hr loading and disabled parking bay.

 

In most cases loading bays on red routes will not be affected by the Streetspace programme. However, if you encounter a problem, please email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We aim to complete these works as above but please note dates and times are subject to change.

Road updates

A40 Westway - As of the evening of Sunday 14 June the speed limit on the elevated section of the A40 Westway was lowered from 40 to 30mph. This will help protect the flyover and significantly reduce the likelihood of unplanned work and restrictions ahead of major maintenance work planned here for summer 2021.

Shoreditch - Until 30 September 2020, Shoreditch High Street will have a contra-flow reducing the width of the carriageway in both directions between Holywell Lane and New Yards Inn. This is due to Shoreditch Village development works.

London Bridge - Until 31 October 2020, London Bridge is closed to general traffic (except buses, licensed taxis, motorcyclists and cyclists). Diversions are in place and there are changes to the junction either side of the bridge. Please take extra care when driving while all users, including pedestrians, get used to the new layout.

Drivers using Blackfriars Bridge or Tower Bridge should expect queues while crossing the river. Travel outside of peak times and use alternative river crossings including Vauxhall, Westminster and Lambeth bridges where possible for an easier journey. This is for essential maintenance works being carried out by the City of London Corporation.

 

 


June 26th

Latest Streetspace for London updates are available via the IOC archive of TfL bulletins for commercial drivers. Here is today's

 


June 24th

TfL Wed Freight call

Big changes for Hatton Cross – Water Mains replacement 30 weeks

Clapham High Street begins today

 

TfL have created a Wed freight dial-in call for trade associations and the IOC are invited. The call updates the changes taking place as lockdown softens and the StreetSpace project engages in the new norm of return to work. Road reshaping, cycleways and access, everything is running at a very fast pace, with multiple projects. The Wed freight call brings a verbal update of the week ahead.

StreetSpace project has little information on the web, so the dial-in is a must-listen; we give you the details below.

 

Focus on a big job coming up on the Heathrow Western Coridor at Hatton Cross station and surrounding areas, Limited detail but this is the very first posting for the Flags Road job by Janet Brown. Affinity Water will be doing mains replacement, draft start date is Sept 15th with a view to timescale of works between thirty and forty weeks, twenty four seven.

There were questions on the impact of the Prime Minister's Lockdown announcements  of Tuesday June 23rd. The question was asked, ‘when will the Congestion Charge review be triggered as lockdown moves from two metre rule?’

Dr Andy Neather TfL, ‘We are seeing traffic increase but it remains below pre-lockdown figures, I see no change to works on the StreetSpace roads project. The priority is to get StreetSpace in place, there is no plans to dismantle anything.

Moving on to second phase of StreetSpace, Bishopsgate corridor, there will be loading space, but no through road, mapping detail being finalised for public distribution. Dr Andy Neather said a fairly detailed map was about to arrive. The work start has been extended to the 4th July as the beginning of a whole new phase of the scheme.

Today (June 24th) works are starting on Clapham High Street, three loading bays are being closed but full details are:- Parking bay outside 21 Clapham High Street (south side, block between Aristotle Rd and Lendal Terrace) - removed with no alternate provision. Loading bay outside 59-79 Clapham High Street (outside Metro Bank, south side, block between St Lukes Ave and Clement Av) - alternate provision is red route disabled/loading bay (20 minutes) on opposite side of road, and parking on St Lukes Avenue on double yellow lines. Loading bay outside 157-161 Clapham High St, in front of Post Office (the block immediately east of the junction with A2217/Acre Lane) - alternate provision is red route parking bay (30 minutes) on opposite side of road.

Taking a look at what other StreetSpace works about to start...

Balham High Street.

Bromley A21 South to have width flow change for cycles.

Battersea works about to start.

Phase two CS7 upgrade around Tooting. Tooting Broadway to Colliers Wood.

Looking at wider impacts, Euston Road, Euston to Waterloo, particularly impact around Mount Pleasant Royal Mail Depot.

 


 June 18th - latest Furlough FAQ from Alan Lewis - Constantine Law. This updated advice reflects the changes announced by government on Jun 12th

 

The main points...

1. WHAT IS THE SCHEME? The stated purpose of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to allow employers to claim for costs of employment “in respect of furloughed employees arising from the health, social and economic emergency in the United Kingdom resulting from coronavirus”. The scheme allows employers to place employees on ‘furlough leave’ by agreement and provides access to a grant towards employment costs.

 

2. WHO IS ELIGIBLE? a) To be eligible under the scheme, an employee must have been furloughed for a minimum continuous period of 21 calendar days before 1 July 2020, unless they are returning from maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental or parental bereavement leave. b) The scheme is applicable to all UK businesses and all PAYE employees (including part-time, agency, flexible and zero hours contracts) who were on payroll on or before 19 March 2020. c) The scheme does not apply to anyone starting work after 19 March 2020. Also, anyone who had not been paid by 19 March 2020 will be excluded because of the requirement for an RTI payroll submission by this date. d) Those transferred from another business after 19 March 2020 under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 are eligible. e) The scheme also applies to PAYE office holders (including company directors, even if they pay themselves only once a year via PAYE), salaried LLP members, agency workers, apprentices and “workers” who fall under s.230(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act.

 

3. WHAT ARE THE CUT OFF DATES? a) The last day an employee could have started furlough for the first time was 10 June 2020, unless they are returning from maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental or parental bereavement leave. Employers will have until 31 July 2020 to make any claims for claim periods up to 30 June. b) The scheme is due to end completely on 31 October 2020.

 

4. HOW IS IT IMPLEMENTED? Furlough is a change of status and will therefore require consent or a contractual right. The guidance requires that employers agree the leave with the employee and confirm their new status in writing (and keep a record for 5 years). The employer will report this status to HMRC on the portal. When deciding who should be furloughed, wider employment rights and obligations continue to apply, including equality considerations.

 

5. WHAT IS FLEXIBLE FURLOUGH LEAVE? a) From 1 July 2020, employees who have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks can agree to return to work part time. b) Employers need to keep a new written agreement that confirms the flexible furlough arrangement. c) Flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time but the minimum period that an employer can claim for is 7 days. d) The amount an employer can claim under the scheme (subject to the cap, see below) will be calculated proportionately to the hours worked by the employee during flexible furlough.

 

6. WHAT HAPPENS DURING FURLOUGH LEAVE? a) The employee remains employed by the employer, but they cannot work for the employer(except under a flexible furlough agreement). . They should not attend the workplace or work remotely. b) The employee can, however, act as a union or non- union representative for the purposes of individual or collective representation of employees or workers (this includes acting as a companion at disciplinary or grievance hearings). They can also volunteer or train provided that “the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation”. The employer can require employees to undertake training from home. Where training is undertaken by furloughed employees, at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage for this time. c) Employees who already have more than one job can be furloughed by one employer and continue to work for the other. d) The scheme does not prevent furloughed workers from taking on new employment while furloughed, provided that this is by agreement. If the contract prohibits additional employment, employers may be asked to vary this provision. Employers may wish to take steps to warn employees about working for competitors and remind employees of their contractual duties.

 

7. WHAT CAN THE EMPLOYER CLAIM BACK?

 

· 1 MARCH TO 31 JULY 2020

Employer can claim a grant of up to 80%, of an employee’s regular wage costs (before tax) up to a cap of £2,500 per month as well as the associated Employer NICs and minimum (3%) automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage.

· 1 TO 31 AUGUST 2020

Employer can claim a grant of up to 80%, of an employee’s regular wage (before tax) up to a cap of £2,500 per month but will be required to pay the Employer NICs and minimum (3%) automatic enrolment employer pension contributions.

· 1 TO 30 SEPTEMBER 2020

Employer can claim a grant of up to 70%, and must pay the employee up to 10% of an employee’s regular wage (before tax), subject to a total cap of £2,500 per month. The Employer is required to pay the Employer NICs and minimum (3%) automatic enrolment employer pension contributions.

· 1 TO 31 OCTOBER 2020

Employer can claim a grant of up to 60%, and must pay the employee up to 20% of an employee’s regular wage (before tax), subject to a total cap of £2,500 per month. The Employer is required to pay the Employer NICs and minimum (3%) automatic enrolment employer pension contributions.

 

8. HOW DO YOU CALCULATE AN EMPLOYEE’S REGULAR WAGES? a) The guidance states that this can include wages, past overtime, fees and compulsory commission payments. However, the Treasury has issued a Direction which clearly states that it does not include payments which are conditional on any matter or vary in accordance with business or employee performance. This means most commission payments will be excluded. b) Discretionary bonus (including tips) and commission payments and non-cash payments should be excluded. The cost of monetary and non-monetary benefits, including taxable Benefits in Kind and benefits provided through salary sacrifice schemes (including pension contributions) that reduce an employee’s taxable pay should also be excluded. c) Claims should only be made in relation to the period after the employee finishes work, not when the decision to furlough is made, or the date of any correspondence. d) No claim can be made if it is “abusive or is otherwise contrary to the exceptional purpose of the scheme” (see 1, above)

 

9. CAN THE EMPLOYER “TOP-UP?” The employer may seek to pay only at the rate recoverable from HMRC. The employer may opt to top up the employee’s salary if the grant does not cover it in full, but this is not a requirement.

 

10. HOW ARE EMPLOYMENT COSTS CALCULATED FOR THOSE WITH IRREGULAR EARNINGS? The grant will be calculated by reference to the higher of: (1) earnings in the same month in the previous year; or (2) average monthly earnings in the 2019/2020 tax year. If the employee has worked for less than a year, the employer can claim for an average of their monthly earnings for the time that they have worked.

 

11. WHAT IF 80% OF SALARY IS AN AMOUNT WHICH FALLS BELOW NATIONAL LIVING WAGE/NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE? Furloughed employees are not working therefore NLW and NMW do not apply. If the employer agrees with the employee that they will undertake training during furlough leave, the employee is entitled to a minimum of their NMW for the training period.

 

12. WHAT HAPPENS WITH ANNUAL LEAVE AND CONTINUITY OF SERVICE? Continuity of service will be unbroken. Annual leave will continue to accrue. Holidays can be taken during furlough leave but must be paid at 100% of normal salary.

 

13. WHAT HAPPENS WITH FAMILY LEAVE? Employees already on or due to go on any form of family leave (e.g. maternity leave) will remain on such leave. If they are furloughed during this leave, an employer can only submit a claim under the scheme for any enhanced pay elements. Employees who are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities or need to stay at home with someone who is shielding can be furloughed.

 

14. WHAT HAPPENS WITH SICK LEAVE? Those already on sick leave or self-isolating remain on sick leave until they are fit to work, out of isolation or designated as furlough by the employer. During sick leave or self- isolation, they are paid at the relevant rate (SSP or contractual sick pay). Aside from those on short term sick leave/self-isolation, employers can, for business reasons, furlough employees who are currently off sick. They can also furlough employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance.

 

15. WHAT ABOUT SPONSORED WORKERS UNDER TIERS 2 OR 5 OF THE POINTS BASED SYSTEM? Home Office guidance indicates that it is possible to furlough such workers and provides for temporary reductions in pay. However, it also requires that the reductions in pay are “part of a company-wide policy to avoid redundancies and in which all workers are treated the same”. Further guidance is available here.


June 1st – Britain returning to work – furlough scheme cannot remain forever

 

Alan Lewis, expert employment law adviser to the express courier sector, summarises the announcement by the Chancellor on Friday that employers will experience changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Alan says,

The Scheme will be gradually phased out over the next 5 months. We await the devil that is in the detail to be revealed by updated full guidance and a revised Treasury Direction. The key points to note for now are: (1) 10 June 2020 will be the last day that employers can place employees on furlough; (2) from 1 July, we will see the new 'flexible furlough' which means that employees will be able to work part-time and be furloughed part-time; (3) from 1 August, employers will have to pay employee national insurance contributions and pension contributions, and will no longer be able to reclaim them through the Scheme; (4) from 1 September, the government will only reimburse 70% of salary (up to a maximum of £2,190) and employers will be required to top-up to 80% (or more, depending on what the employer has agreed with the employee); (5) from 1 October, the government will only reimburse 60% of salary (up to a maximum of £1,875), and employers will still have to top up to 80% (or more as above); and (6) the furlough scheme will close on 31 October 2020.

 


May 15th

 

ULEZ & Congestion Charge re-instated Monday

Charge Zone times to be extended 7am to 10pm

Car fee moves up to 15 pounds.

TfL, ‘To prevent London’s roads from instantly becoming unusably blocked with congestion, TfL has confirmed that the Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be reintroduced on Monday 18 May. These schemes reduce congestion and pollution and help tackle the climate emergency, and the Low Emission Zone, which discourages the use of the dirtiest lorries and large vans, will also be reintroduced at the same time.’

• Waterloo Bridge and London Bridge may be restricted to people walking, cycling and buses only with consideration for EV taxis.

• Park Lane becomes 20mph and gets first temporary cycle lane

• TfL is also working with the City of London Corporation on options to improve routes between Old Street and Bank, and between Cannon Street and Holborn to Bank

 

Mayor of London release Friday May 15th

Public transport challenges mean one of the world’s largest car-free zones will be created in central London as Congestion Charge and ULEZ reinstated and strengthened as part of Government funding deal

• ‘Monumental’ effort required from all Londoners to enable social distancing on public transport as lockdown is eased

• Car-free streets set to enable millions of journeys to be safely made on foot or by bike

• Londoners asked to walk or cycle for journeys from mainline rail stations rather than use the Tube

• The Congestion Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone and Low Emission Zone will be reinstated on Monday (18 May) to prevent London’s roads from becoming unusably blocked

• To support NHS staff, the Congestion Charge reimbursement scheme is being extended and will also be open to care home workers

• As a Government condition of TfL funding deal it is proposed to review the Congestion Charge. As a temporary measure and to support the transformation of London’s streets, it is proposed that the Congestion Charge will increase to £15 next month and the hours of operation extended

• Public transport must now be a last resort. Londoners must continue working from home and spend more leisure time in local areas.

 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London have today (May 15th) announced plans to transform parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world. This is necessary to enable safe social distancing on public transport in London as lockdown restrictions are eased, and will help support increased walking and cycling and improve the city’s air quality.

Enabling social distancing to happen on the public transport network as lockdown restrictions are eased will require a monumental effort from all Londoners. Public transport must only be used when absolutely necessary – as a last resort. Many more Londoners must now walk or cycle. Everyone who can work from home must continue doing so for the foreseeable future. We must all spend more of our leisure time in our local areas to avoid unnecessary journeys. Londoners who can only get to work on rail must now walk or cycle from rail stations rather than using the tube or bus.

The plans will create more space for social distancing when walking and cycling, ensuring that the people who have no choice but to return to work in central London can do so as safely as possible.

Some streets will be converted to walking and cycling only, with others restricted to all traffic apart from buses, as part of the Mayor’s latest bold Streetspace measures. Streets between London Bridge and Shoreditch, Euston and Waterloo and Old Street and Holborn may be limited to buses, pedestrians and cyclists to help boost safe and sustainable travel as our city starts to gradually emerge from national Covid-19 restrictions. Access for emergency services and disabled people will be maintained, but deliveries on some streets may need to be made outside of congestion charging hours.

Waterloo Bridge and London Bridge may be restricted to people walking, cycling and buses only, with pavements widened to enable people to safely travel between busy railway stations and their workplaces. TfL is looking into providing Zero Emission Capable taxis with access to both these bridges, and other areas where traffic is restricted.

TfL is working closely with those boroughs who are keen to do more to bring in changes to their roads in the coming days and weeks. In the past week alone, TfL has added around 5,000 square metres of extra space on footpaths across London, giving people space to safely walk and queue for local shops while maintaining social distancing. Work has begun on the first temporary cycle lane along Park Lane where the speed limit will also be reduced to 20mph to reduce road danger. Streetspace for London plans on key sections of TfL roads will be delivered in the coming weeks.

In line with the City of London’s plans to make its busiest roads car free as lockdown is eased, TfL is also working with the City of London Corporation on options to improve routes between Old Street and Bank, and between Cannon Street and Holborn to Bank for walking and cycling. More than half a million people work in the City of London and changes are needed to the historic streets to make room for social distancing for employees and support the economy.

The Mayor’s air quality programme, including the introduction of the ULEZ, had already contributed to a reduction of 44 per cent in roadside nitrogen dioxide in central London between February 2017 and January of this year. Following the Government announcement of coronavirus related travel restrictions, traffic levels on TfL roads fell by as much as 60 per cent and harmful nitrogen dioxide was down by around 50 per cent on some of London’s busiest roads. Traffic and pollution are now starting to rise again.

To prevent London’s roads from instantly becoming unusably blocked with congestion, TfL has confirmed that the Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be reintroduced on Monday 18 May. These schemes reduce congestion and pollution and help tackle the climate emergency, and the Low Emission Zone, which discourages the use of the dirtiest lorries and large vans, will also be reintroduced at the same time.

As a temporary measure and to support the transformation of London’s streets, it is proposed that the Congestion Charge will increase to £15 next month and the hours of operation extended as part of a package of temporary changes. These changes will be monitored and form part of a wider review of the Congestion Charge as agreed with the Government as part of the TfL funding deal. Proposals include increasing the Congestion Charge to £15 and extending its hours of operation to 7am to 10pm, seven days a week, from 22 June. This would encourage Londoners not to make unnecessary car journeys, and is expected to reduce journeys within the Congestion Charge zone by a third. This would significantly reduce air pollution in central London compared to pre-Covid levels and help tackle the climate emergency.

TfL will be temporarily extending the Congestion Charge reimbursement scheme to continue to support NHS and care home staff, who are at the heart of the national effort in these unprecedented times. NHS and care home employees who work in the Congestion Charge zone will be reimbursed for journeys relating to coronavirus, including for their journeys to and from work.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “Covid-19 poses the biggest challenge to London’s public transport network in TfL’s history. It will take a monumental effort from all Londoners to maintain safe social distancing on public transport as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased.

“That means we have to keep the number of people using public transport as low as possible. And we can’t see journeys formerly taken on public transport replaced with car usage because our roads would immediately become unusably blocked and toxic air pollution would soar.

“I ask that Londoners do not use public transport unless it is absolutely unavoidable – it must be a last resort. If you can work from home you should continue to do so. We should all spend more of our leisure time in our local areas too.”

“We will need many more Londoners to walk and cycle to make this work. That’s why these plans will transform parts of central London to create one of the largest car-free areas in any capital city in the world.

“If we want to make transport in London safe, and keep London globally competitive, then we have no choice but to rapidly repurpose London’s streets for people. By ensuring our city’s recovery is green, we will also tackle our toxic air which is vital to make sure we don’t replace one public health crisis with another. I urge all boroughs to work with us to make this possible.

“I fully appreciate that this will be incredibly difficult for many Londoners. It will mean a fundamental reimagining how we live our lives in this city. And this transformation will not be smooth. But I promise to be as clear and upfront with Londoners as possible about what we are doing, why and exactly what we need from you in order to keep us safe.”

Gareth Powell, TfL’s Managing Director for Surface Transport, said: “Throughout this extremely difficult time, Londoners have followed Government guidance not to travel and we have seen an unprecedented drop in traffic levels. This brought with it a dramatic fall in pollution. In the last few weeks, the capital has become a greener, cleaner place and we are determined to keep it this way. To prevent the city clogging up, and to support the greater levels of walking and cycling that will vital to London’s re-start, we are reinstating road user charging schemes and making walking and cycling easier and safer than ever before.

“The London Streetspace programme is a fantastic opportunity to help Londoners move about the city in safe and sustainable ways in greater numbers than we have ever seen before. This will put public health, safety and the environment at the heart of London’s gradual emergence from lockdown.”

Alastair Moss, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, said: “We are working to get the City back on its feet gradually in a safe and sustainable manner in partnership with TfL. That is why we are prioritising space for pedestrians and cyclists as any significant increase in the use of cars or taxis would lead to congestion, increased air pollution and road danger.

“We will continue to support businesses and residents in the Square Mile in their COVID-19 recovery by ensuring that the City remains a safe and attractive location.”

Cllr Julian Bell, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said: “London’s boroughs have long been champions of walking and cycling - with many now responding to the coronavirus pandemic by working with TfL to introduce emergency measures to support people walking and cycling for essential journeys.

“In this challenging time, boroughs are seeing clear improvements to air quality and traffic levels as many make the positive switch from cars to other forms of travel. We welcome these measures from TfL, including the extension of the congestion charge reimbursement to care workers, and will continue to work closely with them to do everything we can to sustain this move to cleaner and greener forms of transport.”

Additional walking space has been added on the A23, outside Brixton station, as well as on Earl’s Court Road, Stoke Newington High Street and Camden High Street. Work is ongoing at Park Lane and Balham Boulevard to create temporary cycle lanes, and footpaths will be increased on Borough High Street, Nags Head and in Dalston to enable social distancing. TfL is also adding an initial 1,000 extra cycle parking spaces across London, focused around busy areas like high streets and transport hubs.

The Santander Cycles scheme is also supporting the switch to healthy and sustainable modes by setting up staffed hubs at Waterloo, Kings Cross, Holborn, Liverpool Street and Soho Square, to ensure that everyone who needs to travel in these areas has access to a bike. These hubs will be prioritising social distancing and cleaning will take place at each location.

Santander Cycles will continue to support NHS staff and other key workers by extending the offer of free hires to July. This provides these workers with an unlimited number of 30 minute journeys. More than 10,000 free hires to key workers have been made since the scheme launched in March.

TfL is set to publish a range of materials to help Londoners walk and cycle including a cycle Tube map and a Tube walking map.

• In addition to the proposed changes to the price and hours of operation of the Congestion Charge, TfL is also planning to temporarily close the residents’ discount to new applications

• It is proposed that the Autopay discount will also be removed temporarily so as not to provide an incentive to travel in the zone at a discounted rate

• The Congestion Charge has not been increased since it increased from £10 to £11.50 in 2014, the longest period without an increase since the introduction of the scheme in 2003. TfL will be undertaking a full impact assessment of the proposed changes to the Congestion Charge before any are introduced on 22 June

• Those eligible for the extended NHS and care worker Congestion Charge reimbursement scheme claim the charges they have incurred from their employer who in turn will be able to obtain reimbursement from TfL. Previously the scheme did not include journeys to and from work by NHS staff

• The Low Emission Zone will continue to be enforced at the current standard (Euro IV) until early March at the earliest, when new tighter regulations are brought in

• The Cleaner Vehicle and Blue Badge discounts remain unchanged as part of these proposals for the Congestion Charge.

• Further details about the Streetspace for London plans are available here: https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/improvements-and-projects/streetspace-for-london

• The temporary Streetspace schemes will be reviewed by TfL and could become permanent. Transformative walking and cycling corridors are subject to borough approvals and traffic regulation orders

• The Santander Cycles code for NHS workers is valid until 1 July 2020. Any number of 30 minute journeys are included and users must dock cycles within 30 minutes to avoid being charged

• Following the Government’s announcement of the road map for the next phase of the pandemic, TfL has set out its initial plan to keep Londoners moving safely.

• Even with services running at full capacity, only 13-15 per cent of the normal numbers of passengers can be carried with 2m social distancing maintained. Londoners should work from home if they are able to and those who cannot are advised to walk or cycle where possible. Public transport should only be used if it is absolutely necessary, and if you have to do so you should travel outside of peak hours, wear a non-medical facial covering and carry a hand sanitizer.


May 11th

 

The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.

These 8 guides cover a range of different types of work and can be found on Gov.uk.

Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19


May 5th

Police extract on operation OPAL week summary

Final mile food delivery thefts……

Opal have previously noted the increased vulnerability of delivery drivers due to reductions in traffic, but a new trend is emerging whereby offenders are targeting goods including food parcels at the point of delivery. The offenders are waiting until the goods are delivered to the drop off point and are then stealing the goods. It is not clear if offenders are tracking the delivery drivers to commit offences or identifying properties that are likely to receive deliveries. A number of the offences have targeted vulnerable individuals who are likely to continue to receive parcels in the coming weeks that could also be stolen.

Full report here


Friday May 1st

 

Dealing with Furlough in Express courier logistics

Latest Government guidance about the Job Retention Scheme

 

Alan Lewis, logistics sector employment expert, Partner, Constantine Law Limited has updated the frequently asked questions for fellows of the Institute of Couriers.

Alan comments on the headlines of the Friday May 1st  updates. ‘An important late addition is confirmation that furloughed staff will be permitted to carry out duties as non-union or union representatives in collective or individual representations without breaking terms of furlough. This will mean that a furloughed employee can be a companion for an employee at a disciplinary or grievance meeting, as well as being permitted to be part of the collective consultation team of reps in TUPE or redundancy  consultations.’

 

1. WHAT IS THE SCHEME? The stated purpose of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to allow employers to claim for costs of employment “in respect of furloughed employees arising from the health, social and economic emergency in the United Kingdom resulting from coronavirus”. The scheme allows employers to place employees on ‘furlough leave’ by agreement and provides access to a grant towards employment costs. The scheme was announced on 20 March 2020. Guidance is being provided incrementally by the Government and we will continue to update this summary document.

 

2. WHO IS ELIGIBLE? a) The scheme is applicable to all UK businesses and all PAYE employees (including part-time, agency, flexible and zero hours contracts) who were on payroll on or before 19 March 2020. An RTI submission notifying HMRC of a payment to those employees must have been made on or before 19 March 2020 (see 3, below).  b) Those transferred from another business after 19 March 2020 under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006  are eligible. c) The scheme also applies to PAYE office holders (including company directors, even if they pay themselves only once a year via PAYE), salaried  LLP members, agency workers, apprentices and “workers” who fall under s.230(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act. d) An employee must be furloughed for a minimum period of 21 calendar days and have entered into a written agreement in respect of furlough leave, for a claim for wages to be valid.

 

3. WHAT ABOUT NEW STARTERS? The scheme does not apply to anyone starting work after 19 March 2020. Also, anyone who had not been paid by 19 March 2020 will be excluded because of the requirement for an RTI payroll submission by this date. This means monthly paid staff who commenced work at the beginning of March will not be caught by the scheme, although weekly paid staff will be caught.

 

4. WHAT HAPPENS DURING FURLOUGH LEAVE?

a) The employee remains employed by the employer, but they cannot work for the employer. They should not attend the workplace or work remotely. If employees continue to answer emails and telephone calls (for example) then HMRC may see this as abuse of the scheme and could well seek repayment from the employer of part or all of the funding.

b) The employee can, however, act as a union or non- union representative for the purposes of individual or collective representation of employees or workers (this includes acting as a companion at disciplinary or grievance hearings). They can also volunteer or train provided that “the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation”. The employer can require employees to undertake training from home. Where training is undertaken by furloughed employees, at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage for this time.

 

5. CAN FURLOUGHED EMPLOYEES WORK FOR ANOTHER EMPLOYER?

a) Employees who already have more than one job can be furloughed by one employer and continue to work for the other.

b) The scheme does not prevent furloughed workers from taking on new employment while furloughed, provided that this is by agreement. If the contract prohibits additional employment, employers may be asked to vary this provision. Employers may wish to take steps to warn employees about working for competitors and remind employees of their contractual duties.

 

6. HOW LONG WILL THE SCHEME LAST? The scheme has been extended until 30 June 2020, after which date it may be extended again. It is good practice to inform employees the scheme will be kept under review.

 

7. HOW IS IT IMPLEMENTED? Furlough leave must be seen as a change of status and will therefore require consent or a contractual right. The guidance requires that employers agree the leave with the employee and confirm their new status in writing (and keep a record for 5 years). The employer will report this status to HMRC on the portal. When deciding who should be furloughed, wider employment rights and obligations continue to apply, including equality considerations.

 

8. IS THERE A REQUIREMENT TO CONSULT WITH EMPLOYEES? If the employee is proposing to furlough 20 or more employees in circumstances where they would have otherwise made redundancies, then the requirement to collectively consult seems likely to have been triggered. The special circumstances defence may be available to employers if there is insufficient scope to consult properly with employees, given these extraordinary times. 

 

9. WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO ALREADY LEFT EMPLOYMENT OR ARE ON NOTICE? The scheme is backdated in order to provide for those who had been put on notice of redundancy or who stopped working in the period 28 February to 19 March 2020 (inclusive). It allows employers to rehire and furlough employees who were made redundant or stopped working during that specific period. Employers can also claim for those employees who agreed to take unpaid leave on or after 28 February 2020. It is also possible to extend or renew fixed term contracts during the furlough period and keep those employees on furlough leave.

 

10. CAN EMPLOYEES REQUEST FURLOUGH LEAVE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO REDUNDANCY? An employee can ask to be placed on furlough leave but the employer does not have to agree. However, we expect that many employers will see the scheme as preferable because, in the short term, it will avoid payments of notice, accrued holiday and any statutory redundancy entitlement becoming payable and allow access to a grant.

 

11. WHAT CAN THE EMPLOYER CLAIM BACK AND HOW?

a) The employer is able to claim a grant of up to 80%, of an employee’s regular wage (before tax) up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The guidance states that this can include wages, past overtime, fees and compulsory commission payments. However, the Treasury has issued a Direction which clearly states that it does not include payments which are conditional on any matter or vary in accordance with business or employee performance. This means most commission payments will be excluded.

b) Discretionary bonus (including tips) and commission payments and non-cash payments should be excluded. The cost of monetary and non-monetary benefits, including taxable Benefits in Kind and benefits provided through salary sacrifice schemes (including pension contributions) that reduce an employee’s taxable pay should also be excluded.

c) In addition, the employer will be able to claim the associated Employer NICs and minimum (3%) automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage. Employees will be required to pay tax and NIC on payments received.

d) Claims are made via the HMRC portal, which opened on 20 April 2020.

e) Claims should only be made in relation to the period after the employee finishes work, not when the decision to furlough is made, or the date of any correspondence.

f) No claim can be made if it is “abusive or is otherwise contrary to the exceptional purpose of the scheme” (see 1, above) 12. CAN THE EMPLOYER “TOP-UP?” The employer may seek to pay only at the rate recoverable from HMRC. The employer may opt to top up the employee’s salary if the grant does not cover it in full, but this is not a requirement.

 

13. HOW IS THE 80% OF EMPLOYMENT COSTS CALCULATED FOR THOSE WITH IRREGULAR EARNINGS? The 80% grant will be applied to the higher of: (1) earnings in the same month in the previous year; or (2) average monthly earnings in the 2019/2020 tax year. If the employee has worked for less than a year, the employer can claim for an average of their monthly earnings for the time that they have worked.

 

14. WHAT IF 80% OF SALARY IS AN AMOUNT WHICH FALLS BELOW NATIONAL LIVING WAGE/NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE? Furloughed employees are not working therefore NLW and NMW do not apply. If the employer agrees with the employee that they will undertake training during furlough leave, the employee is entitled to a minimum of their NMW for the training period.

 

15. CAN EMPLOYEES BE MOVED ON AND OFF FURLOUGH LEAVE (OR ROTATED)? Yes, but an employee must be furloughed for a minimum of 21 calendar days on each rotation.

 

16. WHAT HAPPENS WITH ANNUAL LEAVE AND CONTINUITY OF SERVICE? Continuity of service will be unbroken. We believe that annual leave will continue to accrue. The Government guidance to employees states that holidays can be taken during furlough leave and must be paid at 100% of normal salary. It therefore appears that an employer can make a claim for wages paid for holiday taken during furlough leave.

 

17. WHAT HAPPENS WITH FAMILY LEAVE? Employees already on or due to go on any form of family leave (e.g. maternity leave) will remain on such leave. If they are furloughed during this leave, an employer can only submit a claim under the scheme for any enhanced pay elements. Employees who are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities or need to stay at home with someone who is shielding can be furloughed.

 

18. WHAT HAPPENS WITH SICK LEAVE? Those already on sick leave or self-isolating remain on sick leave until they are fit to work, out of isolation or designated as furlough by the employer. During sick leave or self- isolation, they are paid at the relevant rate (SSP or contractual sick pay). Aside from those on short term sick leave/self-isolation, employers can, for business reasons, furlough employees who are currently off sick. They can also furlough employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance.

 

19. WHAT ABOUT SPONSORED WORKERS UNDER TIERS 2 OR 5 OF THE POINTS BASED SYSTEM? Home Office guidance indicates that it is possible to furlough such workers and provides for temporary reductions in pay. However, it also requires that the reductions in pay are “part of a company-wide policy to avoid redundancies and in which all workers are treated the same”. Further guidance is available here.

 

IOC Fellows can contact Alan Lewis direct This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. T: 44 (0)203 696 8230