‘Payments providers’ listed as key workers

20 March 2020

Boris Johnson announced that, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, on March 20 2020, all schools would be shut down “until further notice” for all children with the exception of those identified as being vulnerable, or whose parents are classed as key workers. Within the guidance, the list of key workers included ‘some financial services’ and even more interestingly, ‘payments providers’.

Recently provided scientific advice maintained that where children could safely remain at home, they should, to further limit the chances of the virus spreading. The government has therefore confirmed that parents should keep their children at home, where possible, and that schools should only remain open for those who definitely must attend. This includes vulnerable children and children whose parents are critical to the coronavirus outbreak response. These parents are referred to as key workers.

Key workers include individuals who work within:

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Key public services
  • Local and national government
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services

Children whose parents work in one of these critical sectors and cannot be kept safe at home whilst their parents carry out their jobs will be prioritised for the purposes of education provision.

Update: After contacting the Department for Education directly, the CIPP can confirm that payroll professionals are undoubtedly classified as key workers.

CIPP comment

Within the definition of ‘Utilities, communication and financial services’, it states that this is inclusive of ‘payments providers’. This is a relatively broad statement, so the CIPP considers whether this refers to payment services providers, who support the UK payments infrastructure, e.g. BACS, or does it seek to incorporate the wider population of payroll professionals?

The work of payroll professionals will be imperative throughout the outbreak of coronavirus in ensuring that staff up and down the country receive their pay, correctly and on time. The CIPP will be lobbying to ensure that the importance of the payroll profession is known, and how it will be particularly integral to supporting the country’s economy, and its people, over the coming weeks and months.

Update: It has been confirmed that payroll professionals are been classified as key workers. This is in recognition of the fundamental role that they will play throughout the duration of the coronavirus outbreak in terms of ensuring that Britain continues to be paid, both accurately and on time.


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