Seasonal working during coronavirus - guidance for employers

As an employer, it's likely that you'll have lots of questions during this period of time. One of the main considerations is: how can businesses that uses seasonal workers work safely and productively during this time?

The latest guidance on what to do and how to work safely during the coronavirus can be found on the website.

These pages will give an overview of managing the seasonal workers aspect of your business and give some practical tips and things to think about.

Getting the most from your workforce

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The NHS website provides the latest information and health advice on coronavirus (COVID-19).

The most common symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • recent onset of a new, continuous cough
  • high temperature
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

What you need to communicate

Ensure new workers are fully briefed in the appropriate languages by translating your key induction documents. Information should also be provided on the following:

  • Symptoms of coronavirus
  • What to do if they experience symptoms
  • How to prevent the spread of the virus

Preparing your induction process

Keeping farm staff informed about coronavirus

How can coronavirus be prevented from spreading?

Social distancing and good hygiene are the main factors that will help prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, if you have seasonal workers who travel, live and work together, this may initially seem like an impossible task.

What may help to make this process more manageable is to break your people flow and environment down into distinct segments, such as:

  • Rest areas and canteens
  • Shared living arrangements
  • Transport
  • New arrivals from abroad

Keep farm staff safe from coronavirus in shared spaces

What should you do if there is an outbreak on your farm?

It will be an incredibly anxious time for any business during an outbreak. With a business such as a farm, there will be concerns about how to contain an outbreak when seasonal workers may be housed on site.

The first course of action you should take is to contact your local health protection team (HPT). Information on how to contact your HPT can be found at: 

 The HPT will undertake a risk assessment and provide public health advice. Where necessary, a multi-agency Incident Management Team will be established to manage the outbreak.

 There are additional resources and tips on our Coronavirus: contingency planning for your business page about planning and compliance, and movement, stocking densities and accommodation, that you may find useful.

There is specific guidance for the countries in the UK so further information can be found at:

Disclaimer: This information is based on UK governments and Public Health England (PHE) guidance. Other restrictions and advice may apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This guidance does not change or amend the statutory duties of an employer under the health and safety legislation, including, in particular:

Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA), which requires an employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees

Regulation 3 (1) (a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR), which requires an employer to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of its employees to which they are exposed while they are at work in order to identify the measures the employer must take to comply with the requirements of the health and safety legislation