Our recent update focused on “Pick for Britain” – the industry campaign to get more students and furloughed workers out in the fields, plugging the shortage of seasonal migrant labour available to plant and pick produce by hand. During the pandemic, the continued migration of farmworkers into the UK has been controversial. The rest of the country has seen, perhaps for the first time, how heavily food producers rely on workers from overseas to carry out these time-sensitive tasks.
The new 14-day quarantine rule for people entering the UK has been equally contentious, in terms of the impact on the travel industry, and the difficulties faced by businesses that rely on overseas travel. The Government has now published guidance aimed at implementing the quarantine for seasonal farmworkers. In summary, these allow for the quarantine to take place on farm on the following basis:
- Workers must be carrying documentary evidence that they are travelling to your farm to carry out seasonal work – they should have this with them before they depart.
- Within two hours of arrival, clear guidance on social distancing and working/living arrangements must be provided.
- The workers should provide written confirmation that they have received this guidance.
- Workers should stay in designated groups, (groups should be made up of parties arriving within 24 hours of each other) with limited contact with others, for the first 14 days.
- The practicality of self-isolation (if required) should be considered when designating groups.
- If anyone develops symptoms, they should self-isolate as per the current Government guidance.
- If no one has developed symptoms or tested positive within 14 days, workers can continue to work on farm, provided that they follow the general guidance on social distancing; and
- industry best practice is followed. (See further here)
Special consideration should be given to transporting workers between temporary work sites and tasks that necessitate working closely or face to face, such as sitting on tractor mounted planting or picking trailers.
If you require any assistance with the issues raised in this update, please do not hesitate to contact our employment and regulatory specialists.