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Maybe this has been covered somewhere else but if it has I can't find it and can't seem to find anything online either other than guidance from a driving instructors organisation. 

I was wondering if anyone had got clarification on staff sharing a van moving between jobs? Whether this is 'allowed' and if not, it is sufficient reason to justify furloughing an employee?

I have been working as a solo operator last week and today and have stood down my one member of staff, but have seen all sorts of trades operating with people sharing vans. 

My reading of the government guidance is that this should not be permitted but I don't know whether if you cannot work from home and so should go to work, whether this particular aspect of the job is justified...?

I don't want to end up in the situation where a decision to furlough is deemed invalid because we should have just carried on working. 

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  • PRO

    People must be at least 2m apart at all times. So, my interpretation was van sharing a no-no and think it a perfectly valid reason for furlough.

  • PRO

    Our interpretation is also that van sharing can't happen beacuse of the 2m distance rule. 

    It also applies when lifting etc (so uness one person can safely do it, you can't do it at all).

    Could the staff member potentially meet you on site (assuming their car insurance covers it?)

  • PRO

    We are operating a one person per vehicle policy.  It's a bit of a logistical nightmare as there usually 3 of us in the big van.  Do you need a valid reason to furlough someone? I've not looked into it yet.

    Having said that, half of my wife's office have been furloughed today and the business is topping up their pay.  So bacically they are getting 100% of their money to stay at home while my wife (Who is well pi$$ed off) and her remaining colleagues have to pick up the extra work.  Something not right there.

    • PRO

      agree daren -- this is happening everywhere right now 

    • Darren, maybe your wife's employer should have been more thoughtful.  I spent many many hours trawling the net and came across a very good page that quotes: "For employers that are topping up, a key question is how to maintain a fair differential between furloughed employees and any employees still working"

      • PRO

        Colin -- unfortunately in a crisis such as this, employment law / deceny / fairness are all out of the window. Governments globally are also changing laws to suit them without due process, its a very hard time for workers and human rights. 

  • PRO

    My two guys usually share a van so having made the decision to continue working I've had to insure the one lad on my van that I usually use. Unfortunately he's only 22 and the cost for  one months insurance is £350.00.

  • PRO

    He doesn't drive unfortunately. (I had thought he could use the spare time to finally learn to drive but no driving instructors are operating!) I've thought through all the possible solutions but I just don't think its feasible. Speaking to other people it seems that the decision to furlough doesn't need to be 'justified' necessarily, you can just do it then claim the money back later and if they are PAYE and fulfill all the other criteria you should be fine. The worst case scenario is I pay him for a month and then don't get it back which is not the end of the world in the grand scheme of things. Thanks for the feedback. 

  • There seems little point in staying 2 m apart and then travelling in the same vehicle. There was a peice on our local news about what a great job the binmen are doing - and they are-  observing all the rules etc , then they all climb into the same cab at end of shift! Bit of an own goal i think. 

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