The New Tier System – impact on employers

The second national lockdown was lifted on 2 December and employers will continue to grapple with a range of challenges, including the implications of the tier system and what this means for deployment of staff over the coming months. In England until at least 16 December the majority of the population is either in Tier 2 (high risk) or Tier 3 (very high risk).

The following guidance applies to all tiers:

Should employees return to the workplace?

It continues to be the case that Government advises those who can work from home should do so. For a variety of reasons many people cannot do so and they can continue to travel to their workplace, even if it means crossing form Tier 2 to Tier 3 or vice versa.

What about health and safety requirements?

For the businesses that can reopen, such as non-essential retail premises and hair dressers, employers are required out a review of their Covid risk assessments and update them as the new tier system comes into effect.

Is there a limit on the number of staff who can attend the workplace?

No.  Where work is being carried out, including charitable or volunteer work, there is no limit on numbers. However, workplaces must adhere to social distancing guidelines and other measures in order to remain ‘Covid-secure’.

Does the tier system impact furlough?

No, all UK employers may still furlough their employees up until 31 March 2021.  We know that the government is going to review the furlough scheme in January 2021.  After the review we currently anticipate a similar taper to the scheme moving from providing 80% of employees’ wages to 70% in February 2021 and 60% in March 2021.


If you would like further advice tailored to your particular circumstances, please contact us.