Starting 14 September 2020, any social gathering cannot have more than six people (including children) at one place, be it indoors or outdoors, in England. Though this rule does not impact workplaces directly, how does it affect work-related social events? Before 14 September, up to 30 people were allowed to meet socially. Anyone breaking this law will face arrest and/or a fine. Similar rules apply across the United Kingdom.Workplace Exemption
Workplaces are exempt from this change. Meaning, there is no upper limit on how many employees can attend office premise/campus. This, of course, requires proper implementation of safe systems of work along with social distancing measures. But, is it same for work-related social events? Work-related events are deemed to be an extension of the workplace according to employment law terms.Parties and Meet-ups
Say, for example, a group of colleagues might plan to meet up over lunch or can organise a party during office time. Similarly, people might also arrange annual Christmas party or plan out social events. The government as directed that wherever a work-related social event takes places inside a workplace, the “Rule of Six” does not apply. Therefore, you can organise a work party for any number and also allow large group parties and meet-ups inside your campus without any worries.What is Confusing?
Something that is not clear is if these gatherings and workplace events that are held inside office premises can include third parties, partners and clients along with the employees. The interpretation of the rule is, it is likely that third parties cannot be allowed. So, the advice is to stick with employees only.Restaurants and Pubs
All restaurants, pubs and other hospitality venues are allowed to permit more than six people but individual groups meeting within those venues cannot exceed six people. You are limited to six per table, and people across the table must not mingle. Individual groups are advised not to form larger groups or mix with others socially. If hospitality venues are found breaking the rule, they will be subject to penalties.
If you are sceptical about planning Christmas party this year, you can plan a goodwill gift for your staff in the form of a tax-free benefit.