The GLAA revealed that temporary licences for food production would be granted to businesses operating within the wider labour supply industry and wishing to support labour providers who currently hold GLAA licences
It said that applications must be sponsored by an existing GLAA licence-holder, who is expected to carry out due diligence checks. But it said that decisions would be made by the GLAA on a case-by-case basis within five days.
If temporary licence-holders wished to supply workers for a longer period, they must complete the licence application form and pay the application fee before the end of the three months, added GLAA.
Certain activities are also excluded from needing a GLAA licence. This includes cases where a labour provider transfers their workers to another employer at no cost because there is no work for them.
GLAA director of people and licensing Nicola Ray said: “These are unprecedented times for us all and it is important that we recognise the need for greater flexibility in food processing and packaging, while at the same time maintaining our core commitment to protect vulnerable and exploited workers.
“We realise this is a very difficult time for businesses. We are determined to support those who follow our licensing standards and have done so ever since they became licence-holders. We will do all we can to help legitimate businesses as they continue to provide the goods and services this country relies on.”
However, she issued a note of caution to labour providers. She said they were expected to continue to fully comply with its licensing standards and anyone who attempted to circumvent the licensing scheme would be investigated.
“It is important to stress that there will be a zero-tolerance approach to anyone we find attempting to profit from exploiting vulnerable workers at this challenging time. Where we find examples of this, we will act swiftly and decisively to put a stop to it,” she said.
David Camp, chief executive of the Association of Labour Providers (ALP), said: “ALP welcomes the introduction of the GLAA temporary licensing scheme at this time of severe challenge for the food supply chain. It will enable the wider UK recruitment sector to direct workers towards GLAA licensed labour providers and supply the labour needed to keep the nation fed.”
Shayne Tyler, group compliance director at Fresca Group, welcomed the move. “We are pleased that the workers will continue to be employed under the current regulations and urge labour users to be extra vigilant in monitoring the welfare of their workers. Furthermore, we encourage workers new to our industry to raise concerns at the earliest opportunity,” he said.