Government has recently announced that it will offer a package of financial support for self-employed people who are no longer able to work, although the detail of how the scheme might work has yet to be released.
If as a business:
- you are continuing to use self-employed or agency labour to provide services for your business; or
- you are a business which supplies such labour
health and safety considerations during the current COVID-19 crisis should be at the forefront of your mind when you either use or place such labour.
An overview of the issues to consider is set out below.
Are there any restrictions under the new Government guidelines about using self-employed / agency labour?
There is currently little restriction on self-employed people working if they are unable to do the job which they usually do from home. This assumes the industry in which the self-employed person works is currently still permitted.
The current guidance suggests continuing to work as a self-employed person or agency worker will not be an issue if the job can be done within social distancing parameters.
Both the employer and the employment agency owe duties of care in negligence to the agency worker / self-employed person.
A claim could potentially arise if in due course the self-employed person/ agency worker can demonstrate they contracted COVID-19 whilst undertaking work for you/whilst on your premises. Whilst this may be difficult to prove, ensuring the necessary Covid 19 protection measures are in place will reduce the chance of any such claims arising.
Ensuring you have all the appropriate protections in place is likely to be also key to any relevant employers liability/public liability insurance policy – in the event of claims arising in the future insurers will expect all relevant guidance to have been adhered to if cover is to be provided.