Last updated: 21st January 2021
Should I be working and going into people’s homes right now?
Your wellbeing and the wellbeing of our homeowners will always be the most important thing to us. We know it’s an uncertain time, but we want to reassure you that we’re following the latest advice and recommendations from the government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help keep you safe and well, and keep your business ticking over.
Boris Johnson shared advice from the government on 10th May 2020. This included the first steps towards moving the country out of lockdown. Regarding trade work, he said:
“Anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work. You should avoid public transport if at all possible.”
The government’s advised that tradespeople in England can carry out work inside people’s homes during the national lockdown (in place from 5th January 2021). You are also exempt from the gatherings limit in a home, as long as you’re there for work. This is as long as you, the homeowner and both your households are well and have no coronavirus symptoms. You must also follow the COVID-Secure guidance.
You shouldn’t carry out work in a home if anyone in the household is self-isolating, unless the work is to sort a problem which is a direct risk to the household’s safety, like emergency plumbing or repairs, and if you’re willing to do so.
From Friday 20th December 2020, the whole of Wales is at alert level 4. The Welsh government has confirmed that tradespeople can legally enter a home for reasons such as carrying out repairs and maintenance, activities supporting a house move, gardening, domestic cleaning and construction work.
You should only work in a private home if you can do so safely. In addition, you, the homeowner and your respective households must also be well and have no coronavirus symptoms. You must also follow all the reasonable measures and the guidance on working in other people’s homes.
The government recommends that no work is carried out in a household where someone is isolating, unless it is to repair a fault or to carry out an adaptation to allow the household to stay in their property. Take additional precautions in these instances, to keep both you and the homeowner safe. Public Health Wales can advise you in these specific cases. Find out more about the guidance for working in other people’s homes on Gov.wales.
From Saturday 26th December 2020, additional restrictions are in place in Northern Ireland. The government has confirmed that tradespeople can continue to enter people’s homes to carry out work such as repairs, installations and deliveries, unless they are specifically required to close under the regulations.
You should follow the public health advice and regulations whilst you’re in someone’s home, including keeping a 2-metre distance from the homeowner and their household. You shouldn’t enter a home if you, the homeowner or anyone in either of your households have coronavirus symptoms. Read more about doing work inside private homes on NI Direct.
From 5th January 2021, mainland Scotland is in a temporary lockdown (some islands will remain at Level 3) meaning you can only leave your house or garden for an essential purpose. The Scottish government has confirmed that you can leave your home for work.
The Scottish government has also confirmed that tradespeople can enter other people’s homes to carry out essential work, such as:
- Utility (electricity, gas, water, telephone, broadband) safety checks, repairs, maintenance and installations (where they can’t be delayed).
- Repairs and maintenance that would threaten the health and safety of the household if not completed.
- Deliveries, installation or repairs of key household appliances and furniture such as fridges, washing machines and cookers.
- House move-related work, such as furniture removal.
- Domestic cleaning for people in vulnerable circumstances and/or living with a disability, who are unable to clean their own home as a result of that circumstance or disability, in order to support a clean and safe living environment for them.
When working inside a home, you should follow the guidance on working safely, including wearing a face covering and maintaining social distancing. Work can take place as long as you, the homeowner and everyone in both of your households are well and have no coronavirus symptoms.
If you’re working, take extra precautions, such as:
- Don’t meet a homeowner, or your team, or allow work to go ahead, if you have any of the symptoms associated with the virus. These include a high temperature, a loss of sense of taste or smell, or a new, continuous cough – even if they seem mild. If anyone in your household has symptoms, stay at home for the appropriate length of time.
- Consider ways to reduce contact, such as sending photos or a video to enable you to quote over the phone. Our Protected Payments service can be useful for you and a homeowner to consider using during this time. It’s digital so you won’t need to meet to receive payment for work, and it’ll protect your money if a job needs to be put on hold. Read more info.
- Take additional hygiene precautions. Wash your hands more regularly, use hand sanitiser when soap and water isn’t available and bring your own drinks if you’re working in someone’s home.
We know that working on a construction site and working in people’s homes are two very different things. You should carry out work as long as you and anyone in your household is well and has no symptoms. In addition, you should be able to stand 2 metres apart from anyone else in the customer’s house. You shouldn’t carry out work in any households that are self-isolating or if an individual is classed as vulnerable and being protected, unless the work is to sort a problem which is a direct risk to the safety of the household, like emergency plumbing or repairs, and where you’re willing to do so. Read the specific government guidelines for working in homes in more detail on Gov.uk.
Coronavirus advice for onsite workers:
The same advice applies regarding who should go to work. But, if you’re classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’, it’s strongly advised that you don’t return to work onsite. If you’re ‘clinically vulnerable’, the government advice is that you should take extra care with social distancing. You should also be offered the safest available onsite roles, where you can stay 2 metres away from others. If this isn’t possible, you and your employer should assess whether the risk is acceptable. See more info in our Coronavirus: Staying safe whilst working on a construction site article.
Do you have any jobs on the platform right now and what if jobs dry up?
We still have plenty of homeowners looking for tradespeople to do work for them. We’ve even seen demand increase for trades like gardeners, tree surgeons and pest control specialists. Our platform is designed to give you access to leads 24/7. We’ll continue to make sure you have a stream of new work opportunities coming through, should you want to do them and it’s legal for you to do so.
We want to support you as much as possible through this challenging time. So, we’ve also pulled together information on the latest government support that you may be eligible for, like grants and loans. You can find this information in our Coronavirus: government support for construction businesses article, and we’ll keep it updated.
Can I get a payment holiday?
We want to help tradespeople with any financial concerns that they might have. Rest assured, we still have homeowners on our platform looking to hire tradespeople. In countries like Scotland where only essential work is being done, we’re still seeing non-essential work being planned in for further ahead. If you’ve noticed a big drop in the number of leads for your particular area and trade or you’re unable to work, please email our team at [email protected] for help.
Note: The government has confirmed that there is no limit to the group size when you are meeting or gathering for work. But, workplaces should be set up to meet the COVID-secure guidelines. Follow the government’s guidance on how to return to work safely.
Note: Countries may approach the different phases of lockdown differently. This guidance is in line with the UK government’s advice and is being followed in England. See the specific government websites for any differences.
For more information on staying safe whilst working, head to our Coronavirus: How to keep safe whilst working article.
For information on government support for businesses, check out our Coronavirus: government support for construction businesses article.