How workers on leave can earn extra money AND help feed Britain


Nothing in the government’s leave program prevents you from taking a second job (Photo: Bloomberg / Getty)

Millions of workers on leave have been asked to help pick fruits and vegetables during the harvest to stop the deterioration of crops in the fields.

The government has warned that there may not be enough workers in May and June because migrant worker farms on which farmers generally depend cannot travel here due to lock-in restrictions.

But is it easy for people on leave to take a second job? We asked the job experts how to do it.

The first thing to note is that nothing in the government system prevents you from doing so. You will not lose payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to respond to the call to work on farms or elsewhere, such as in supermarkets.

Second, however, there may be a clause in your contract of employment which states that you must not work elsewhere or that you must inform your employer before doing so.

These clauses are common, but it is not necessary to assume that you will certainly not be able to take on other tasks. Many employers will be open to you, provided you are open with them about your plans.

Seasonal worker tends to make raspberries in Kent (Photo: Getty)

Kate Palmer, Associate Director of Consulting at Peninsula Human Resources Consulting, said “Many employers have a clause in their employment contract such as” If you intend to work for another employer, please let us know. “

“They can do it only to make sure there is no violation of working time regulations and no risk to health and safety by working too many hours.

“Or they can do it, for example, if they want to assess the other job in the event of a conflict.”

More than four million people are currently on leave due to the UK coronavirus pandemic. The government has agreed to pay 80% of his salary up to a maximum of £ 2,500, with the possibility for employers to supplement the rest.

People participating in the program are not allowed to do work for their original employer, but they are not prevented from working for another company.

Palmer said, “What an employee needs to do before taking up work with another employer is to check what is in the contract. If there is something to that effect [about not working for another company], pick up the employer’s phone and discuss the viability of doing other work.

A farm worker carries a tray of freshly harvested asparagus to a field on a Minster farm near Ramsgate (Photo: Getty)

“The only situation, I think, that most employers would refuse to allow them to do would be if there was a direct conflict of interest, for example if the second employer did exactly the same thing as the first, or if you were aware of information that would benefit the second employer or create a conflict. “

She said that people should also keep in mind that many employers are starting to release workers and that their original employers may call them back in the short term.

The minimum time an employee can be on leave is three weeks, but people can be informed within a few days of this initial period that they must return. The program continues until the end of June and will be revisited thereafter.

Colin Leckey, a labor law partner at Lewis Silkin LLP, also recommended that people speak to their employers if there is a clause in their employment contract elsewhere.

“It is certainly worth having this discussion and asking them what the clause is about and will they release you from it,” he said. “It seems to me that there is no good particular reason why they would not do it. “

“My recommendation to anyone in this position is that it is worth talking to your employer and saying,” I have this restriction in place in my employment contract in my leave agreement, but I would really like spend June going to pick the fruit. in areas that are generally recognized as something that we need as a country. Will you agree to release me from this restriction for this purpose? “

“I don’t see any valid reason why an employer would say no to this. The only caveat is that the employer may think they may need to call this person back from work in order to return to work normally. “

He warned that if people went ahead and took up a second job without notifying their original employer, they risked losing their job if there was a clause in their contract that talked about working elsewhere.

“This is something you would like to be wary of,” he said.

If you want to apply for agricultural work, British Summer Fruits is recruiting.

We have also put together an explanator on how to help pick fruits and vegetables here.

Contact our news team by sending us an email to [email protected]

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