NAS Statement on Coronavirus
Earlier this year, the NAS launched its new core values of: Promote, Support, and Develop.
While we are no doubt living through an unprecedented set of circumstances, we believe that our new values remain just as relevant today as they were before the Coronavirus outbreak. We are therefore making the commitment that we will:
- Promote our member’s best interests at this difficult time. We will amplify their voice and ensure that their concerns are heard.
- Support their businesses and employees through advice, guidance, and our targeted membership benefits.
- Develop our members through webinars and e-learning.
We don’t want to become an alternative to official channels – or dilute their important messages – so we will only communicate where we feel it will add value to our Members, and the sector more broadly. In the meantime, for accurate and up-to-date advice, please visit the following official websites:
- GOV.UK – Support available for businesses
- GOV.UK – How to access financial support
- Scottish Government – Support for businesses
- HMRC – Tax helpline for businesses
- Money Advice Service – Advice on help/deferral of mortgage payments
- Universal Credit – Claiming benefits for Coronavirus
- Build UK – Construction site operating procedures
- GOV.UK – Decontamination of non-healthcare settings
- GOV.UK – Guidance for households with possible Coronavirus infection
- NHS – For advice on symptoms and staying at home
- Please click here for contact details for training related queries including accreditation cards, HS&E tests, construction colleges and apprenticeships
- Build UK – Guidance on contractual issues caused by Coronavirus
Advice and News relating to Coronavirus
Friday, 27 March 2020
The Government have issued further (more detailed) guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (or Furloughed workers) on its website, in addition to information about support for self-employed workers.
Thursday 26 March 2020
CITB Levy suspended
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has announced that it will be suspending the issuing of its levy bills, due for payment in 2020, for an initial period of three months. Read more here.
Model letter for furloughing workers
Job retention scheme and Furloughed workers
Guidance on contractual issues
Wednesday 25 March 2020
Government help for businesses
Webinar with Citation: Covid-19. 2020 a year of unprecedented change
Get the answers you currently need about Government support for businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak, and how to implement this. Join us on Thursday 26 March for our first, free webinar jointly presented by the NAS and our Associate Member, Citation, who are H&S, employment law and HR specialists. Register here.
Thursday 19 March 2020
Working from Home
With more people currently working from home than possibly ever before, we have shared some tips for employers and employees on how to maintain productivity and team collaboration.
Wednesday 18 March 2020
The growing concerns surrounding Coronavirus are likely to impact the issuing of CSCS cards. This will also affect SICCS cards that are issued by the NAS. A key requirement for all applications (new or renewal) is proof that the applicant has passed the relevant CITB Health, Safety and Environment (HS&E) test. However to contain the spread of the virus, some test centres have started to limit the number of tests they deliver. Find out more here.
HM Treasury confirmed last night that the introduction of the IR35 reforms to the private sector will be deferred until April 2021, due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. More information here.
Monday 16 March 2020
Mitigating the impact on your business and employees
We’ve been asked for some general advice from our Members about managing the impact of Coronavirus.
It’s fair to say that this is a rapidly developing situation – with the Government now confirming that they will provide daily briefings to update the public about the virus. We will continue to monitor the news and offer guidance when we can.
In the meantime, there are some general steps that you can take to try and mitigate the impact on your business and employees (courtesy of our partners, Build UK). We recognise that not all of these steps will be appropriate, or feasible, but we’ve listed them in full for your consideration.
- Increase welfare and hygiene facilities to protect your workforce
- Liaise with clients on contingency arrangements
- Review contractual arrangements to understand options now and in the future
- Liaise with funders and banks to secure sufficient credit
- Contact HMRC on 0800 0159 559 to discuss arrangements for delaying payment of taxes
- Set up project specific communication networks with your supply chain
- Review safety critical elements of projects
- Review programmes
- Ensure remote access is in place, where possible
- Offer those with the ability to work from home the option to do so
- Protect business critical functions such as payroll and accounts departments
- Split teams to avoid everyone becoming ill at the same time
- Reduce contact between leadership teams
- Cancel or move meetings and overseas travel to conference calls or online meetings
If any of our Members would like help achieving any of the above, please let the team know and we will do all we can. Communication at this time is key. We can help set up conference calls, or other remote working facilities to help you, if you are unsure or do not have the means to do this.
It is well known that the construction industry suffers from higher than average mental health problems – and the uncertainty at this time will no doubt be another contributing factor. Many people will be concerned about their financial situation; the future of their business, their employer, and their job.
Membership of the NAS comes with a number of benefits that can help at this time – including dedicated helplines that can support your business and employees. In particular, we would like to remind our Members that the NAS provides an Employee Advisory Helpline to all members (and their employees) that provides 24-hour confidential counselling and advice services 365 days a year. If any members would like more information about accessing this service, please get in touch.
In addition, the World Health Organisation has also provided this general advice for looking after your mental health:
- Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that could cause you to feel anxious or distressed – limit the news and be careful what you read
- Seek information mainly to take practical steps to prepare your plans to protect yourself and your loved ones – take breaks from social media
- Seek information updates at specific times and stay connected with people
- Wash your hands, but not excessively
- Avoid burnout – AnxietyUK suggests practising the “Apple” technique to deal with anxiety and worries:
a. Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
b. Pause: Don’t react as you normally do. Don’t react at all. Pause and breathe.
c. Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
d. Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don’t have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
e. Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else – on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else – mindfully with your full attention.
26 February 2020
Steps for Employers
Our first published advice on Coronavirus, provided by Serah Goldsworthy of SGHR Associates, can be found here.