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UK recycling and waste sector employees granted ‘key worker’ status

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Recycling and waste sector employees have been granted 'key worker' status in the UK.

Key worker status means that the children of designated sectors can still go to school during the Covid-19 pandemic. Other key workers include those in healthcare and food distribution.

The announcement follows calls from the Environmental Services Association (ESA) to keep vital waste services moving. In a statement on 19 March, Jacob Hayler, executive director of the ESA said: "Protecting the ability of employees to come to work is our number one priority so we are urgently calling on the government to classify frontline recycling and waste operatives as key workers, so they can continue to provide the vital services upon which we all rely."

Now that the UK Government has allocated key worker status to those in the waste and recycling sector, Hayler said: "We are pleased to see the government acknowledge the essential role of recycling and waste operatives during the Covid-19 pandemic, which means that our sector's workforce will continue to receive educational provision for their children - allowing them to get on with their vital jobs.

"This was ESA members' most pressing priority, but there are still many other issues around permitting rules, contractual performance and other technical areas unique to our sector, which the ESA is working with DEFRA and the Environment Agency to resolve, in order to ensure the sector can continue to provide effective recycling and waste services during this crisis."