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16 July 2021

Lockdown easing

What next?

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A message to members in Lloyds Banking Group


On Monday 12th July, the UK Prime Minister confirmed that all restrictions in place in England will be lifted. This was followed almost immediately by the World Health Organisation’s statement that the world is nowhere near through the worst of Coronavirus, telling the UK that, “it’s too early for massive relaxation”. Some Doctors and Scientists have said the same. So where does that leave us?

In a very difficult position to be honest. On the one hand, it would be a relief to take off our masks and get back to pre-COVID living. On the other, the knowledge that it’s really not safe to do so yet leave us concerned for our own health and that of our loved ones.

It’s been a difficult enough balancing act with legislation in place. Without it, we’re reliant on good employers and reasonable colleagues doing the right thing.

On the first, Lloyds Banking Group has proved to be a good employer throughout the pandemic. Working closely with Accord and Unite to put in place working practices that keep you safe. You’ll know from our newsletter issued last week that we urged the bank not to act swiftly, to listen to our members’ concerns and to carry on doing the right thing by them.

And they have.

On the second, it really is down to all colleagues to be cautious, reasonable and supportive of each other. Removing the legislation hasn’t removed the risk. It’s just shifted the responsibility. And we urge each and every one of you to do the right thing and follow the bank’s updated guidance.

By now you should have seen the note from Matt Sinnott, Group People and Property Director. And if you work in branch you’ll also have seen the note from your MDO. We won’t repeat everything they’ve said, but below is a summary of the updated approach in sites and branches in England, effective from 19th July 2021.

(For colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the Government guidance continues to be work from home where possible. We’ve included you in this Newsflash so you’re aware of the approach LBG is taking in response to the lifting of restrictions in England).

LBG office sites

Attending an office

Offices will reopen from the 19th July on a voluntary basis. Colleagues should not attend an office if they’re feeling unwell.

Social distancing

Social distancing remains in place at 2m (desk distancing, signage etc.)

Face coverings

Everyone must wear a face covering except when at socially distanced desk or when eating or drinking (except those who are medically exempt).

Desk booking

Where available, book a desk through Condeco. Colleagues required to confirm they’re not experiencing COVID 19 symptoms and should take a lateral flow test before going to the office. Where Condeco not available, local business units will manage via local communications.

Meeting rooms

Meeting rooms open. More than one person can be in a meeting room provided appropriate social distancing is possible. Bookers responsibility for ensuring this.

Communal areas

Where these are open, signage provided to remind colleagues to ensure they maintain social distance.

Ventilation

HVAC fresh air provision remains as is to ensure maximum ventilation in sites.

Hand sanitizer

Sanitizer becomes a permanent fixture in all offices.

Cleaning

Enhanced cleaning to continue across all sites.

Risk assessments

Unions to work with business to undertake monthly pulse checks to ensure all COVID safe measures are still in place.

Confirmed cases

Cleaning response for confirmed cases in sites remains in place.

Lateral flow testing

Anyone in England aged 18 or over can now order testing kits online or pick them up from testing sites/pharmacies.

Branch network - colleague

Lateral flow tests

Colleagues asked to complete twice weekly or when colleagues have been away from work for longer than 24 hours, including weekends or when they change the branch in which they’re working.

Face coverings

Colleagues must continue to wear face coverings whilst in branch and take regular ‘mask breaks’ for comfort.

Social distancing

Social distancing requirements retained in all areas of the branch, customer and non-customer facing.

Face to face interviewing

Remains voluntary, face coverings must be worn by both colleague and customer, continuing to ensure rooms are fit for purpose and can be appropriately ventilated.

Perspex screens

Remain in place.

Self-isolating

No change to approach for self-isolation and close contacts.

Hand sanitizer

Continued use and free supply for all colleagues and customers.

Opening hours

No change.

Colleague movement

Restricted to 2 branches per week.

Branch visits

ADs, NMMs and LMMs restricted to 2 ‘purposeful’ visits per week. Partner visits restricted – remote support only.

Covid strategy scale

Remains at current Phase 4 – the focus remains on helping customers who want support

Mortgage colleagues

No change – those that WFH should continue to

Branch network - customer

Communication

Campaign to advise customers to be considerate of colleagues and other customers in branch. A copy of the Lloyds branch poster is available here.

Face coverings

Customers asked to continue to wear face coverings in banking hall and must wear them in interview rooms and confined spaces. Adequate supplies will be available for customers.

Social distancing

Existing social distancing measures maintained.

Hand sanitizer

Free supply to remain available.

Branch capacity & external queuing

No relaxing of rules on branch capacity and external queuing.

Your replies to our survey on how you wanted to see LBG handle the easing of lockdown rules formed an important part of its decision to make minimal changes at this time. So, thanks to each and every one of you who responded. You can and do make a difference when you participate – your voice is heard. Spread the word! The more members we have, the stronger our voice.

So, if you know a colleague who isn’t yet a member of Accord or Unite, tell them about the important work we do on their behalf and ask them to join you in supporting us. We’ll give them free membership for 3 months and donate £10 to the Trussell Trust to support foodbanks for every new member who joins us before the end of August. All they have to do is sign up online using the promo code 3FREE.

The next important change to prepare for in England is set to happen on 16th August, when those who are fully vaccinated or under 18 won’t need to self-isolate following close contact with someone who has COVID-19. (You’ll still need to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive).

We’ll be back in touch before then to advise of any changes to the bank’s policy in light of this further step and/or any changes in respect of the devolved nations that have an impact on LBG staff.

One bit of good news before we go that affects all permanent staff. The emergency leave policy relating to COVID absences remains in place for now – so if you need time off to get a jab, self-isolate, care for dependants impacted by COVID or if you’re infected yourself, you will receive full pay. That’s been a brilliant underpinning policy from the start of the pandemic and we’re pleased that LBG has listened to the unions and left it in place as infection rates once again soar. It’s the right thing for a good employer to do.

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