Mandatory MOT testing to be reintroduced from 1 August

Mandatory MOT testing is to be reintroduced from 1 August 2020 as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly lifted, Roads minister Baroness Vere has announced today (29 June 2020).

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, drivers were granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing in March to help slow the spread of the virus. However, as restrictions are eased when safe to do so, all drivers whose car, motorcycle or van is due for an MOT test from 1 August will be required to get a test certificate to continue driving their vehicle.

MOT tests are important for road safety and ensure that vehicle parts, including tyres, seatbelts, brakes, lights and exhausts, are in proper working order.

Drivers with an MOT due date before 1 August will still receive a 6-month exemption from testing. However, all vehicles must continue to be properly maintained and kept in a roadworthy condition, and people are able to voluntarily get their MOT sooner should they wish, even if they are exempt from the legal requirement. Motorists can be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said:

“As people return to our roads, it is vital that motorists are able to keep their vehicles safe. That’s why as restrictions are eased, from 1 August MOT testing will again become mandatory.

“Garages across the country are open and I urge drivers who are due for their MOT to book a test as soon they can.”

Only some garages remained open to conduct essential services during the coronavirus outbreak, but now over 90% are open across the country. Testing capacity has already reached 70% of normal levels and is steadily increasing.

While exemptions are still available for vehicle owners with an MOT due date before 1 August, it is vital that drivers still take their vehicle to be checked if they notice something is wrong in the same way that they usually would.

If drivers are vulnerable or self-isolating they should contact their local garage as many are offering pick-up and drop-off services, so drivers can get their car checked without having to visit a garage.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has also issued guidance to all MOT testers about safely conducting tests in line with the latest government advice.

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Comline announces social media competition

British aftermarket parts brand, Comline, has announced the launch of a fun and engaging social media competition designed to fill the void left by the postponement of EURO 2020. Focusing on automotive, yet harnessing a typical football tournament format, Comline ‘EURO CAR 2020’ will match-up 16 of Europe’s finest automotive creations from the likes of Aston Martin, Ferrari and McLaren, asking the brand’s Facebook and Instagram followers to vote for their winners across the next four weeks. Each and every participant will also be entered into the hat to win an exclusive track-day experience.

Comline, well-known for its multi-category product range that includes filters, braking and steering & suspension products, is becoming an increasingly noticeable presence on social media with daily content connecting the brand to an ever-growing audience. Whilst a good proportion of this content relates more directly to the Comline product range, Group Marketing & Communications Manager, Leigh Davies, is always keen to share the brand’s love of all-things automotive and keep it entertaining along the way:

“At a time when all of Europe should be about to embark on a festival of football, but instead remains focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to do something fun and offer a welcome distraction that taps into our audience’s genuine passion for automotive – a passion that we share here at Comline.”

“We fully expect some interesting exchanges and some good-natured (hopefully clean) banter as our petrolhead followers’ get behind their vehicle of choice.”

Aside from being a fun campaign, there is also a serious prize on offer for one lucky participant. Every social media user that places a vote during the campaign will automatically be entered into the hat to win an exclusive Car Chase Heroes track-day. With 15 ‘fixture’ posts planned for this campaign a single follower can get a maximum of 15 entries into the prize draw.

Comline ‘EURO CAR 2020’ commences on Friday 12th June with the eventual winner being drawn at random on Monday 13th July. For more information and to get involved in the campaign, head over to Comline on Facebook @comlineautoparts or Instagram @comline_auto_parts

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COVID-19: Request staff to take holidays while on furlough

It is an established position, as Lawgistics have previously explained, that annual leave entitlement continues to accrue whilst employees are on furlough. This may put business in a difficult position once the furlough ends and the employees rush to use up their accumulated entitlement.

This also means that if there is not enough work and an employee is made redundant at the end of furlough, the business will have to include into the redundancy package a payment for the unused leave.

The rules against carrying over unused leave have been relaxed by The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. In relation to the statutory entitlement to 4 weeks for full-time staff (out of the 5.6 weeks’ total statutory minimum), a worker may carry over accrued leave if it was not reasonably practical for this worker to take some or all of the leave in any period as a result of the effects of coronavirus (including on the worker, the employer or the wider economy or society). The carried over leave must be taken within next two years. With good reason, the employer may refuse the worker to take the carried over leave on requested days.

It is possible to request employees to take holidays during furlough, as is reflected in the publicised guidance, provided the employer considers ‘whether any restrictions the worker is under, such as the need to socially distance or self-isolate, would prevent the worker from resting, relaxing and enjoying leisure time’.

The 80% (up to £2,500 cap) of holiday pay can be claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme but the employer will have to pay the usual holiday pay and top up the furlough money.

If the employer requests staff to take holidays, a minimum notice of twice the length of the requested holidays must be served. For example, the employer has to serve a notice of minimum of 10 days requiring the worker to take 5 days of leave.

In respect of the bank holidays falling within a period of furlough, which normally would be taken as time off, there are two options: defer the holiday until the end of furlough or treat the holiday as annual leave and top up the furlough pay accordingly. Bank holidays do not interrupt furlough.

Below is a suggested template an employer can use to request staff to take holidays while on furlough:

RE: Notice to Take Annual Leave

We write to confirm your entitlement to annual leave continues to accrue in the furlough period.

To abate the impact of the coronavirus on the business of the company, you are required to take the period from [DATE] to [DATE], [NUMBER weeks/days] in total, as part of your annual leave. This period of leave will be deducted from your remaining annual leave entitlement for the current holiday year.

You will remain away from work and your furlough will continue uninterrupted on the stated leave days.

The company considers that the current furlough period does not reasonably prevent you from utilising the requested leave to take rest from your work.

For the stated days of leave, the reduced furlough rate will not apply, instead you will receive your normal holiday pay in the normal pay cycle.

If you wish to discuss any aspect of this letter, please contact me on [CONTACT DETAILS].

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Tesla recalls 123,000 cars

It has been reported in the UK press that Tesla has announced their largest ever recall for their Model S cars built before April 2016. Tesla has said that a power-steering component needs to be retrofitted.

The recall will affect around 123,00 vehicles globally. Tesla has reassured customers that the recall is not a response to any accident or injuries and will only affect the Model S sedan.

An email was sent to impacted customers which stated the reason for the recall as ‘excessive corrosion in the power steering bolts, though only in very cold climates, particularly those that frequently use calcium or magnesium road salts.’

‘Nonetheless, Tesla plans to replace all early Model S power steering bolts in all climates worldwide to account for the possibility that the vehicle may later be used in a highly corrosive environment,’ said Tesla spokesperson.

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