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Coronavirus (UK): detailed guidance published on the extended furlough scheme – key points for employers

In our blog on 5 November 2020, we flagged that further government guidance on the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”) would be provided on 10 November 2020. HMRC has now published that guidance.

Key details of the government guidance

The updated guidance includes the following key details:

  • During the period 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021, the government furlough grant will pay 80% of wages for hours not worked up, capped at £2,500 per month. Employers will be liable for employer National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions only. The government will review the terms of the scheme in January 2021 and may then require that employers make a contributions towards wages (as it did under the original scheme).  This is likely to be dependent on the state of the economy and the general prevalence of the virus.
  • The extended CJRS applies to employees who were employed as at 30 October 2020, as well as employees who were made redundant or stopped working on or after 23 September 2020, if they are then re-employed by their employer.
  • Employers can make a claim under the extended furlough scheme in relation to employees who have not previously been furloughed and claimed for, and there is no cap on the number of employees that an employer can claim for under the extended scheme.
  • The scheme is fully flexible – employers can furlough employees for any amount of time and any work pattern.
  • Any claims under the initial CJRS

Coronavirus (UK): further extension of the furlough scheme – key details for employers

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer has, today, announced in Parliament, the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”) until the end of March 2021.

The scheme will continue to be on the terms as outlined in our previous blog on Monday until at least 31 January 2021, with the government grant at 80% of salary, capped at £2,500 per month. However, there will be a government review in January 2021 and it is possible that the government grant will, again, be reduced.

Full guidance on the CJRS extension will be published on 10 November 2020. The guidance on claims from February 2021 onwards will be published following the government’s review.

 

BCLP has assembled a COVID-19 Employment & Labor taskforce to assist clients with employment law issues across various jurisdictions. You can contact the taskforce at: COVID-19HRLabour&EmploymentIssues@bclplaw.com.

You can view other thought leadership, guidance, and helpful information on our dedicated COVID-19 / Coronavirus resources page

Coronavirus: changes to UK Job Support Scheme – key details for employers

We previously reported on the establishment of the Job Support Scheme (“JSS”).  The Chancellor of the Exchequer has, today, made a further announcement setting out significant changes to the JSS .  These changes are primarily aimed at providing support to businesses in Tier 2 which are not legally required to shut their premises as part of further lockdown measures, but which are suffering a significant decline in revenue.  However, the changes go even further than this.

Key details of the changes

The key details of the changes to scheme, which will apply to all of the UK, are as follows:

  • The JSS will apply to all businesses in every alert level (i.e. Tiers 1, 2 and 3).
  • Employees only need to work at least 20% of their normally working hours and be paid by their employer for those hours (not at least 33% of their normal working hours as originally required when the JSS was first announced).
  • Under the initial JSS announcement, for the hours not worked, the government and the employer were each required to pay one third of an employee’s salary. Following today’s announcement, the employer contribution will be reduced to just 5%.
  • The government will provide up to 61.67% of wages for hours not worked, up to £1,541.75 per month (more than doubling the maximum payment of £697.92 under the previous rules when the JSS was first announced).

In addition, the government is increasing support for self-employed individuals and implementing a new grant scheme

Coronavirus: UK targeted furlough scheme for the hospitality sector – key details for employers

Less than two weeks after the announcement of the Job Support Scheme (“JSS”) and with just over 3 weeks until the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”) ends, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has, today, made an announcement setting out the details of a targeted furlough scheme designed to support businesses that are legally required to shut their premises as part of further lockdown measures.

Although it has been labelled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as an expansion of the JSS, it looks very much like an extension of the CJRS, albeit in a more limited and targeted form.

Key details of the local furlough scheme

The key details of the scheme, which will apply to all of the UK, are as follows:

  • It will apply to employees who are unable to work as a result of their employer being forced to shut its premises as part of local or national lockdown measures over the winter months. These are likely to be businesses in the  hospitality sector – particularly, bars; restaurants; pubs and clubs.
  • The government will pay two thirds of the salary of those employees who are furloughed under this expanded JSS, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
  • Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages, but will be required to make National Insurance contributions and pension contributions.
  • Employers will only be eligible to claim the government grant while they are subject to lockdown and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven

Coronavirus: UK Job Support Scheme – key details for employers

As we reported previously, on 12 May 2020 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”) would be extended until 31 October 2020.  With just over 5 weeks until the CJRS ends, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has, today, made an announcement setting out the government’s package of measures designed to protect UK jobs through the winter.

Job Support Scheme

With effect from 1 November 2020, the new Job Support Scheme (“JSS”) will come into force.  The key details of the JSS are as follows:

  • It is designed to support the wages of employees who are in viable jobs, but on shorter working hours.
  • Employees must work at least 1/3 of their normal working hours and be paid by their employer for those hours.
  • For the hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay one third of an employee’s salary.
  • The level of grant will be calculated based on an employee’s usual salary, capped at £697.92 per month.
  • All small and medium enterprises are eligible to participate in the JSS.
  • Larger businesses, whose turnover has fallen as a result of coronavirus, are also eligible to participate in the JSS, subject to complying with certain conditions, including restrictions on capital distributions to their shareholders.
  • The JSS is open to all employers, including those who have not participated in the CJRS.
  • The JSS will remain in force for 6 months from 1 November 2020.
  • Employers will not be permitted to issue notices

UK HR Solutions: Sickness Absence FAQs

Welcome to the next post in our weekly series of hands-on guidance for UK HR professionals. In this series we look at common HR issues that you’ll encounter in the workplace and give you practical guidance on how to deal with them. Over the course of the series we’re covering a variety of topics, such as how to handle grievances, disciplinaries, suspension, performance management and much more besides.

This week we continue our look at managing sickness absence with a set of FAQs that UK employers commonly ask.

Click here to read our sickness absence FAQs.

This article was co-written with Trainee Solicitor Peter Summerfield.

Coronavirus: new UK restrictions – implications for employers

Amidst rising numbers of infections, the UK government has, today, made an announcement in relation to new Coronavirus restrictions.

Key highlights of the new restrictions

  • employees who can work from home should do so;
  • restaurants, bars and pubs must operate a table service only and must close at 10pm each day from 24 September 2020;
  • retail and hospitality staff will be required to wear face coverings;
  • retail, leisure and hospitality businesses are now legally required to ensure that their premises are COVID secure;
  • conferences and sporting events will not re-open from the beginning of October, as previously planned; and
  • tighter penalties will be applied, including fines of up to £10,000 for businesses which break COVID rules.

The above restrictions are anticipated to continue in place for the next 6 months.

Implications for employers

  • Plans to bring employees back to the office will need to be reconsidered in light of this announcement.
  • Employers operating in the leisure and hospitality sector will need to be mindful of the need to make changes to working hours and shift patterns.
  • These restrictions, combined with the cessation of the furlough scheme at the end of October 2020, may mean that employers will need to consider whether redundancies are necessary.

BCLP has assembled a COVID-19 Employment & Labor taskforce to assist clients with employment law issues across various jurisdictions. You can contact the taskforce at: COVID-19HRLabour&EmploymentIssues@bclplaw.com. You can also view other thought leadership, guidance, and helpful information on our dedicated COVID-19

UK HR Solutions: How to deal with sickness absence

Welcome to the next post in our weekly series of hands-on guidance for UK HR professionals. In this series we look at common HR issues that you’ll encounter in the workplace and give you practical guidance on how to deal with them. Over the course of the series we’re covering a variety of topics, such as how to handle grievances, disciplinaries, suspension, performance management and much more besides.

This week we look at how to deal with sickness absence.

Click here to read our sickness absence guidance note.

UK HR Solutions: Performance Management FAQs

Welcome to the next post in our weekly series of hands-on guidance for UK HR professionals. In this series we look at common HR issues that you’ll encounter in the workplace and give you practical guidance on how to deal with them. Over the course of the series we’re covering a variety of topics, such as how to handle grievances, disciplinaries, suspension, sickness absence and much more besides.

This week we continue our look at performance management with a set of FAQs that UK employers commonly ask.

Click here to read our Performance Management FAQs.

UK HR Solutions: Managing performance issues

Welcome to the next post in our weekly series of hands-on guidance for UK HR professionals. In this series we look at common HR issues that you’ll encounter in the workplace and give you practical guidance on how to deal with them. Over the course of the series we’re covering a variety of topics, such as how to handle grievances, disciplinaries, suspension, sickness absence and much more besides.

This week we look at managing performance issues.

Click here to read our guidance note on what to do when a performance issue arises.

This article was co-written with Paralegal Peter Summerfield.

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