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Information for Horticulture and Ornamental Employers


I have seasonal staff flying into the UK, will they be required to self-isolate?

On Friday 22 May 2020, the UK Government released guidance about the mandatory quarantine of passengers arriving in the UK.  The guidance outlines some people are exempt from quarantine requirements, seasonal agricultural workers are included in this category.

Seasonal agricultural workers are exempt from the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days provided: 

  • The seasonal agricultural worker has an offer of employment for seasonal work on a named farm,
  • They will be employed to carry out specific activities in edible horticulture.


Workers will be able to start work immediately but you must self-isolate on the farm. However, workers may mix with fellow workers. Workers will still be required to complete a ‘contact locator form’.

More information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules


I am a horticulture/ornamentals grower and have a large number of staff, what should I do?

Further to the above advice, Scottish Government has also clarified the following seven guidance principles for employers of seasonal staff:

  1. It is the responsibility of the companies and the growers concerned that they must be able to demonstrate that they can operate safely and that the safety and wellbeing of their workforce is of paramount importance.
  2. The companies and the growers concerned must be able to ensure and demonstrate that they are capable of working in a way which is fully consistent with established social distancing advice.  If they cannot they must cease operations.
  3. The companies and growers concerned must ensure that their members/staff/contractors etc. are fully briefed on safe working/social distancing practices and that they are supervised to ensure these are adhered to.  
  4. The companies and growers concerned must also undertake to monitor the latest advice from the Scottish Government’s Chief Medical Officer and/or the First Minister of Scotland, and make the necessary changes to their business operation as required, should this advice change.
  5. The companies and growers, where they are able, should also endeavour to demonstrate to their customers, the public that their operations are fully compliant with safe working/social distancing procedures, through use of their website (should they have one).
  6. The Scottish Government, will work with NFU Scotland to produce further standard, safe working procedures. Individual companies can be provided with tailored advice from Scottish Government if needed. 
  7. The Scottish Government is engaging Police Scotland and relevant Local Authorities to ensure a consistent approach is taken across Scotland.


What good practice measures can I Implement?

Good practice for employers is to:

  • Regularly review whether your work is essential and requires staff or actioning; it may be possible to delay certain jobs by a few weeks,
  • Understand the correct procedure to manage staff who go into self-isolation and potential implications for sick pay,
  • Make sure you, and any managers you may have, know how to spot the symptoms of COVID-19 and know the relevant process in dealing with this, 
  • Make sure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date,
  • Consider if any travel or meetings are necessary and try to arrange remote meetings instead,
  • Minimise the risk of COVID-19 impacting your workforce by: 
    • Keeping everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace, 
    • Consider extra precautions for staff who may more vulnerable to COVID-19, for example if someone is pregnant, aged over 60 or has a long-term health condition,
    • Make sure there are clean places to wash hands with hot water and soap, encourage all staff to wash their hands regularly for more than 20 seconds and provide hand sanitiser for staff and encourage them to use it.
  • Keep up to date with latest coronavirus advice.

Social distancing guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-and-social-distancing-guidance/

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