Small changes as branch networks prepare Autumn COVID plans
Matt Sinnott’s recent communication on Group Interchange and Accord’s newsflash to all members set out changes being made for colleagues in offices/sites and a significant change that affects all staff in respect of the ending of the Group’s commitment to pay staff no matter how they’re affected by COVID.
We’ve been talking to the Community Banks’ leadership team about some small changes to be introduced in branches.
It’s a cautious approach, putting your health and safety first. Working with the public means you’re at greater risk than those working in offices/sites and it’s right that many of the health and safety provisions currently in place will remain.
The only changes for now are …
- You may choose to remove your face covering if you’re sat at a desk, socially distanced and in a non-customer area.
Other than that, you must still wear your face covering when in the banking hall, in interview rooms when serving customers (the customer must also wear a face covering) and when moving around the branch.
Whilst we know some members would prefer not to wear a face covering, it remains the law in Scotland and Northern Ireland. And in England and Wales the UK government’s advice is that…
“You are expected and recommended to continue wearing face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t usually meet.”
“Businesses … can also ask their employees and customers to wear face coverings.”
The Health and Safety Executive says that wearing a face covering can reduce the risk to others and yourself against the spread of infection.
So – whilst we know that some members will be disappointed that the business is continuing with this cautionary approach, we fully support the decision.
It’s important, though, that you factor in regular ‘mask breaks’. We’ve agreed five minutes every hour so you can get some fresh air – or whatever suits you and your team best. Make sure the breaks are happening so you can work as comfortably as possible.
Visits to branches
- In England, Wales and Scotland MDO, AD and LMM colleagues can return to making purposeful visits limited to no more than two branches per week. And SBMs should also be working out of branch, again limiting this to two different branches per week.
- In Halifax branches in Northern Ireland, banking hall capacity limits for customers will be removed bringing them into line with the rest of the UK.
- MaPAs will be welcome to work in branch if needed and are encouraged to start talking to their line manager about ways of working in the future.
There may be further changes next month, depending on the outlook for COVID. We’ll keep you up to date.
If you’ve got any questions, comments or concerns about these small changes please get in touch with the Accord officer who covers your workplace.