Key Workers

The Government’s list of key workers includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines). This includes those who will keep freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response.

Key workers’ children can still attend schools so their parent can continue their vital work.


Letters for food workers

It has been reported that Police are stopping some groups of workers on their way to work, fining them and sending them back. FWD has produced a letter for its members’ teams to use should this situation arise.

Some schools are interpreting the Key Worker status differently. FWD has issued a letter for employees of FWD wholesale members to offer to their child’s school. The letter invites the school to check the employee’s key worker status initially with their company, and with FWD if further proof is needed. It can be downloaded here


The Food and Drink Federation has issued Guidance on Essential Worker status:

  1. Q) What are the benefits of being a ‘key worker’?
  • Being a key worker will mean that your children will still be able to attend schools even once they are closed to other pupils from Monday – if one or more parent is a key worker, their children are eligible
  • This is so workers whose jobs are essential can continue to work without having to look after children – children should not be sent to older relatives for childcare as those over 70 years old are one of the ‘at risk’ groups who are most susceptible to Covid-19
  1. Q) Who qualifies as a key worker?
  • The government have published the list of key workers here – it currently includes broad sectors which are eligible and further details may be published shortly
  • It includes the following definition of workers producing ‘Food and other necessary goods’
    • “This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).”
  • Our current understanding is that this will include both production line workers and other staff that have to work on-site – those that can work from home should do so to support Covid-19 containment measures
  • FDF are working with DEFRA to seek further clarity and detail on this, including on whether this will include the production of drinks, pet food, and feed manufacturers


  1. Q) How will this policy work in practice?
  • The government are still developing how this policy will work and are hoping to have the system in place by Monday
  • We’re aware that in Italy this has involved companies providing workers with a letter on company headed paper stating that they are a key worker in their food production business
  • Companies may wish to prepare a set text for such a letter in order to be prepared, though there is no guarantee this is the approach the UK government will adopt


  1. Q) What other advice is there for parents of children in our workforce?
  • Covid-19 has little to no impact on children without underlying health conditions, so it is safe for them to be in schools
  • Schools are being closed to prevent children passing on the infection to those at-risk (e.g. asymptomatic children may pass the disease onto others who are at risk)
  • Therefore, if it is possible for children to stay at home and be looked after by a responsible adult in the household who is not at-risk (e.g. an older sibling with no underlying health conditions), this is preferable
  • Parents should not rely on at-risk relatives for childcare (e.g. grandparents over the age of 70) and children should also observe social distancing rules


  1. Q) Is this related to the preferential housing treatment currently given to some ‘key workers’?
  • No – this is a separate list specifically for the Covid-19 outbreak and workers on the new list will not receive preferential housing treatment


  1. Q) My school sent me a letter stating which workers were key workers before the government announcement – are key workers different in my area?
  • No – some schools mistakenly sent letters early based on the preferential housing treatment list and the roles initially announced to the media by the Prime Minister and other Ministers before the list was finalised


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