OFTEC has extended all current business and technician registrations for two months without charge, as part of the trade association’s support for its 9,000 registrants during the coronavirus pandemic.
Businesses paying monthly by direct debit will be given a two-month payment holiday covering May and June.
OFTEC said at the end of March heating technicians received clarification from the government that although not classified as key workers, but they can continue to carry out repair and maintenance work.
This is provided technicians have no coronavirus symptoms, no one in the household they are attending is isolating except when emergency work must be completed, and social distancing rules are observed at all times.
OFTEC registrations director Adrian Lightwood said: “The current situation is clearly hitting businesses hard and the heating sector is no exception, especially as so many technicians are self-employed or work for small companies.
“The government support scheme for the self-employed is welcome and will provide a taxable grant worth 80 per cent of average monthly profits over the last three years, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Those technicians who have completed a 2019 tax return are eligible and anyone who missed the January deadline, now has an extra four weeks from 26 March to submit.
“However, we are concerned that payments through the scheme may not be received for around three months, leaving many in a difficult financial position. The scheme also excludes those who have only recently become self-employed or have annual trading profits of more than £50,000.”
As training centres are now closed, OFTEC is also extending the qualification period for registered technicians whose qualifications lapse before 31 May.
Adrian added: “Like so many businesses, OFTEC has had to limit its operations over this period but many of our functions and services remain unchanged and can still be accessed online. The health and welfare of our technicians remains a key priority and we will continue to support them to our best ability during this difficult time.”