Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for supply chain partners and labour providers

Balfour Beatty’s strategy for responding to COVID-19 is framed around three key points:

  1. The health, safety and wellbeing of all those who work with and for us, as well as the general public, is always our priority
    • We are implementing the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Construction Leadership Council, and endorsed by Public Health England, across our sites and contracts
    • We are developing solutions and new ways of working to respond to the evolving situation: outside briefings and staggered breaks; revised work patterns and safe systems of work to achieve social distancing requirements; enhanced cleaning regimes; working from home where that is possible; and many more
  1. Keeping our hundreds of sites across the UK running and the schemes on track
    • In line with the current guidance from the UK Government, our sites and contracts remain operational where they are able to appropriately implement the SOP.
    • We are proud to construct and maintain critical national infrastructure and projects at the heart of local communities which are at the backbone of both the economy and people’s daily lives 
  1. Prompt payment and getting liquidity to SMEs to ensure economic resilience
    • Keeping afloat the SMEs the sector relies on is critical
    • We’re making sure we pay our supply chain partners on time
    • To keep the cash flowing through the industry we need to be paid on time too - to keep that domino effect going

We remain committed to the continued safe and successful delivery of our projects. We continue to follow the current guidance on COVID-19 from the UK Government, and our sites remain operational where we are able to implement the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Construction Leadership Council and endorsed by Public Health England.

The UK Government has reiterated its stance that sites and contracts remain operational where they are able to appropriately implement the SOP. On 31 March 2020, they published a letter of thanks to all those working tirelessly within the industry and making a hugely valued and critical contribution to the national and economic resilience of the UK.

For those areas we do control, we continue to develop solutions and new ways of working as quickly as possible, so that our teams can apply any and all measures appropriate to their works. This range of measures include outside briefings, revised work patterns and safe systems of work to achieve social distancing requirements, staggered breaks, enhanced cleaning regimes, pre-prepared meals, re-configured seating areas, and many more.

We are also adding our voice strongly to calls for greater precautions in areas we do not control, such as public transport, and creating solutions to such challenges in different ways across our different locations. For example, staggering start and finish times and additional car parking spaces.

Our Group Crisis Management Team consists of all members of our Executive Committee and meets every day to make daily decisions about how Balfour Beatty best manages its response to the COVID-19 crisis, implements the latest UK Government guidance, and continues to deliver the critical infrastructure that underpins the UK.

Below, you can find a range of guidance we have shared with our employees which we ask that you consider. We value our supply chain partners and will be regularly updating the information on this page so that you have the most up to date guidance we can provide you in this unprecedented time. We ask that you regularly check this page for updates.

We are asking all those who work with and for us to adhere to UK Government guidance for the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone. Please feel free to share the below guidance to anyone who works with or for Balfour Beatty.

Other information that you may find useful during the COVID-19 crisis, can also be found at:

To further reassure you of our specific approach to business continuity in these unprecedented times:

  • Our Crisis Management Team, chaired by our Chief Executive has been mobilised
  • We have a business wide Working Group in place, exploring all aspects of the impact and potential impact of COVID-19 on our business
  • We are preparing for potential, future eventualities in light of COVID-19 so that we can respond swiftly should the current situation evolve
  • We have ring fenced key supplies and are monitoring the situation daily
  • All of our projects have business continuity arrangements in place
  • Our accounting services centre in Newcastle which is responsible for the processing of all payments has implemented its business continuity plan and through electronic invoicing and electronic approvals we are striving to pay our supply chain in a timely manner
  • To support increased remote working we have increased our IT helpline staff by 80% and further improved our inter connectivity
  • We have undergone a thorough test of our IT systems to ensure that those employees working from home are fully able to do so with minimal disruption to business as usual. As part of our business continuity plans, we have back-up procedures in place
  • We are communicating with our employees on a daily basis with the latest advice and guidance and additional measures that Balfour Beatty is taking to protect our business.

Supply chain partner communications

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Following the announcement by the Chancellor of Exchequer on 26 March in relation to the support being provided by the UK Government to the self-employed we are providing the following guidance to sub-contractors and suppliers.

Balfour Beatty is committed to getting liquidity to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to ensure economic resilience and the safe and successful delivery of our projects.

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The scheme will allow those eligible to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next three months. This may be extended if needed.

It is not yet possible to apply for SEISS as HMRC is working to set it up. HMRC will contact those eligible to apply for the scheme.

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme details

You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • Have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • Traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • Are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • Intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment.

If you have not submitted an Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020.

HMRC will use data on 2018-19 returns already submitted to identify those eligible and will risk assess any late returns filed before the 23 April 2020 deadline in the usual way.

Making an application

It is not yet possible to apply for SEISS. HMRC will contact those eligible for the scheme and invite an online application.

The scheme will be accessed through GOV.UK only. If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam.

How much you’ll get

Once HMRC has received an eligible claim you will be contacted to provide payment details.

You’ll get a taxable grant which will be 80% of the average profits from the tax years (where applicable): 2016 to 2017; 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019.

It will be up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months and the grant will be paid directly into your bank account and in a single instalment.

The exact details of how this scheme works are still to be finalised and may change so you should refer to gov.uk for the latest information.

Individuals who fall into the “high risk” category

  • ‘High risk’ people include those:
    • With underlying health conditions;
    • Who are pregnant;
    • Who are over 70 years old.
  • Being in a ‘high risk’ category doesn’t mean that you’re at any more risk than others of contracting COVID-19 but the medical implications might be more challenging if you do.
  • We have advised our employees that wherever possible and if they are able to fulfil their role from home, they should do so. Furthermore, we are supporting reasonable adjustments to working practices for our employees including:
    • Implementing different or flexible working patterns
    • Rotating team members working from home and working from their usual place of work
    • Providing the appropriate IT equipment, if the restriction to work from home is because the employee doesn't have this in place already

Should an individual exhibit symptoms at work

  • The common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. However, some of these symptoms are also the signs of colds and flu.
  • If someone has these symptoms you should advise them to follow the NHS guidance of self-isolation for 7 days from the start of the symptoms.
  • If they live with other people, they should also stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.

Should an individual exhibit symptoms whilst away from work

The UK Government have updated their guidance to provide clarity around self-isolation periods should you or anyone in your household exhibit symptoms:

  • If you live alone and have symptoms that include a new and persistent cough and a fever, the UK Government advice is to stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.  
  • If you live with others or vulnerable people such as an elderly person or pregnant woman and you or one of them have symptoms of COVID-19, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
  • Should you need to self-isolate, please follow the Stay at Home guidance on GOV.UKand inform your line manager.

Should an individual not display symptoms but refuse to come to site

  • If the individual not attending their usual place of work impacts the safe and efficient delivery of our operations and projects, we ask them to continue to attend their usual place of work as normal.
  • If an individual requires flexibility as a result of COVID-19, their request should be reviewed on a case by case basis and alternative solutions considered, including:
    • Implementing different or flexible working patterns
    • Rotating team members working from home and working from their usual place of work
    • Providing the appropriate IT equipment, if the restriction to work from home is because the employee doesn't have this in place already
  • We have advised our employees that wherever possible and if they can fulfil their role from home, they should do so. Furthermore, we are supporting reasonable adjustments to working practices for our employees such as working at a distance from others, working in an alternative place and varying travel times to avoid rush hour etc.
  • Where an individual is unable to demonstrate a clear rationale for self-isolating, this should be treated as unpaid absence rather than paid absence.

Should anyone refuse to self-isolate

  • We have a duty of care for the health and wellbeing of all individuals who work with or for us
  • We can’t allow anyone who displays symptoms to remain in their usual place of work
  • In the first instance a conversation with the individual about following UK Government medical advice to self-isolate is key.
  • Secondly, provide reassurance that this will be treated initially as paid special leave.
  • If they refuse to follow the advice, then please discuss with your Project Director whether it would be appropriate to consider suspension.

Should an individual return to their place of work following a period of isolation

  • When an individual returns to work following a period of self-isolation, it's important that you confirm with them that they are symptom free and have followed the latest UK Government advice around self-isolation.
  • It's also important to ensure that you explain to any team members that the individual is returning as they are symptom free.

Should the individual be unable to attend their usual place of work to care for family members

  • If an individual with caring responsibilities is unable to come into their usual place of work, because of the impact of COVID-19 such as a school or nursery closure or child who needs to self-isolate then our ‘special leave policy’ would apply.
  • Initially it would be treated as emergency leave, this is where we allow the individual to take a reasonable amount of time off work to deal with the emergency and make any necessary longer-term arrangements which involve one of their dependents. A ‘dependent’ includes:
    • A spouse, partner, parent or child
    • A person who lives in the same household as you, otherwise than by reason of being your tenant, lodger or boarder, or
    • Any person who reasonably relies on you for assistance on an occasion when the person falls ill, is injured or assaulted or to make arrangements for the provision of care in the event of illness or injury.
  • If an individual requires flexibility as a result of COVID-19, their request should be reviewed on a case by case basis and alternative solutions considered, including:
    • Implementing different or flexible working patterns
    • Rotating team members working from home and working from their usual place of work
    • Providing the appropriate IT equipment, if the restriction to work from home is because the employee doesn't have this in place already

Should you need to attend meetings outside of your usual place of work, have conferences, events or rail or air travel booked through Balfour Beatty

  • Meetings away from your usual place of work – physical meetings or visits should be avoided. They should only be held in exceptional circumstances and subject to Project Director approval
  • External visitors – receiving external visitors at any Balfour Beatty location is only permitted in exceptional circumstances and subject to Project Director approval
  • Conference and event attendance – attendance at conferences or events is not permitted
  • Business travel (rail and air) – no new travel bookings should be made and all existing bookings up to 30 April, should be cancelled unless there are exceptional circumstances, should this have been booked through Balfour Beatty