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The Government has put the country on lockdown in a bid to stall the spread of coronavirus while the GEO suspends gender pay gap reporting.
The Prime Minister has ordered the public to stay at home for three weeks except for four basic reasons in order to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
He said people should only go out if they need to shop for basic necessities, have daily exercise, attend to a medical need or travel to and from essential work. Health Secretary Matt Hancock later stated that people can still go to work if they cannot do their work from home. The Government has ordered certain businesses to close.
The move comes as the death toll in Britain reaches 335 and the number of recorded cases hits 6,650, up by 967 in a day, while officials grow increasingly concerned that the public is ignoring advice about social distancing. If people do not follow the rules, police will have the powers to enforce them.
The Prime Minister said all non-essential shops would be told to close, as would hotels, libraries, places of worship and playgrounds. Parks will remain open for now, but gatherings of more than two people are banned, with the exception of family members. If the public continues to flout rules on social distancing, he said he could not rule out further restrictions.
The announcement has brought a string of requests for clarification on what constitutes a key worker, whether parents who are key workers can only access nurseries and schools which are open for them [and how they can pay for this if they have been relying on grandparents in the past] and concerns from the self employed about how they can afford not to work. Employers of those who are unable to work because of the coronavirus can claim 80% of salaries up to 2.5K pounds a month from the Government. The scheme, announced last week, aims to ensure that jobs are not lost in the next few months.
The Government Equalities Office also announced today that it had decided to suspend enforcement of the gender pay gap deadlines this year due to the coronavirus. That means there will be no expectation on employers to report their data and no investigation of any employers who do not report their pay gap.
In a joint statement, Minister for Women & Equalities, Liz Truss, and EHRC Chair, David Isaac, said: “We recognise that employers across the country are facing unprecedented uncertainty and pressure at this time. Because of this we feel it is only right to suspend enforcement of gender pay gap reporting this year.”