Can domestic cleaners work during England's national lockdown?

With the latest national lockdown introduced by Boris Johnson on 4 January, many people across England might be wondering if a cleaner can still work in your home.

Domestic cleaners who live within the family unit are considered part of the family household and should follow the rules of any other family member.

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However, those who visit properties which are not considered their household must follow significant rules - here is the government guidance explained.

Can cleaners still work?

The government has published guidance on its restrictions, which will come into effect from 5 January.

According to the guidance around working, cleaners are allowed to work in homes in England. It states: “This guidance applies to those working in, visiting or delivering to home environments. These include, but are not limited to, people working in the following areas: in home workers – such as repair services, fitters, meter readers, plumbers, cleaners, cooks, visiting childcare providers, and surveyors (this is not an exhaustive list).”

What if I am a cleaner but also a vulnerable person?

Boris Johnson has advised that those who were previously asked to shield will receive a letter from the Department of Health in the coming days, which should confirm whether you are again considered high risk.

Those who are considered clinically vulnerable are advised to stay at home – even if this means you cannot work.

Do cleaners need to socially distance while working?

According to previous guidance, households must comply with the same guidelines as public and private venues, with social distancing and increased hygiene measures in place.

These restrictions do not apply to live-in cleaners, who should be considered a member of the household they work in.

If a cleaner is working in a vulnerable person’s house, they should avoid face to face contact where possible (such as answering the door or receiving payment).

Before going to a house to work, cleaners should “communicate with households prior to arrival”, and on arrival “ensure the household understands the social distancing and hygiene measures that should be followed once work has commenced”.

In addition, cleaners should dispose of all household waste and cleaning products on the property, if they aren’t going to be reused.

Any cleaning products which are being taken to another household or venue should be cleaned thoroughly.

Can a cleaner work in a home where people are self isolating?

Cleaners should not enter the home of any person who is self isolating due to having tested positive for coronavirus.

What else should cleaners do to stay safe?

Social distancing must still be adhered to. This means two metres, or one metre with risk mitigation where two metres are not viable.

Face coverings should be worn and the amount of time working in any confined space should be kept to a minimum if it cannot be completely avoided.

Should a cleaner work with other individuals, they should work side to side or back to back rather than face to face.

For full details of the government's guidance for the lockdown starting on 5 January, go to the UK government website.