Guidance for machinery dealers – Coronavirus emergency measures
Following the government announcement that only “essential” businesses should remain open, we have been desperately trying to seek clarification from them on the rights of key workers and essential business status in the agricultural and garden machinery industries.
We have also consulted with other organisations in industry and manufacturers and suppliers in an effort to gain clarity on the current guidance and have an industry perspective. Due to the nature of the crisis government ministers and their departments are extremely busy, and it has not been possible to get a confirmation form a government department that can be safely passed on.
It remains for dealers to interpret the guidelines in relation to their businesses and the support and services they provide.
Agricultural Machinery Dealers
Key worker status:
Food and other necessary goods; This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
It is our interpretation that if you are directly involved in the food production chain, that is to say that if you do not do your job, this means a hold up in food production or a loss in the food production chain, then you are a key worker working within an essential business.
This will only apply to essential staff and may also limit the business to only dealing with matters relating to food production but it’s up to the companies to make this decision based on their interpretation of what determines a key worker and essential business and to be able to justify this decision if challenged to do so.
Companies have to make this decision themselves and effectively ‘self certify’. If this is position abused, action may be taken against companies not working within the spirit of the law.
Garden Machinery Dealers
Unfortunately for garden machinery dealers the guidance is not clear but we believe that these businesses will come under the guidance that can be followed by clicking here.
The official government guidance is that ‘hardware shops’ can remain open, for now, and by definition these businesses include gardening equipment and being able to offer repairs and services, it would seem that garden machinery businesses would be able to remain open to provide these services under the current guidelines.
Whilst we cannot say categorically that a garden machinery business can be open it would seem that by definition, they should be able to operate under the present guidance if they need to. We are seeking guidance on this matter along with industry partners.
Interestingly, the Irish Government has announced that agricultural machinery dealers can remain open and that garden machinery dealers can also remain open to help with mental stress and keep people busy in their gardens. It is our view that helping people to work in their gardens whilst isolated or working from home would help to relieve stress and frustration and help where necessary with mental health and wellbeing.
Working from Home
We must emphasis that under normal employment regulations all employers have a duty of care to their employees. The current crisis emphasis this duty of care with guidelines on how employees should be treated during the crisis and measures that can be taken to protect those that have to be at work with social distancing measures etc. More information is available on the BAGMA Coronavirus Hub below.
We are working tirelessly to seek further information from the government and will update members as soon as possible. In the meantime I would advise all members to regularly check the government website for more information. Our own Coronavirus Hub is available for all to check on our web site home page and we encourage you to check this on a regular basis as you need to.