QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR EMPLOYERS – COVID 19
Q .Has the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Furlough, been extended?
Yes, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that it will continue until the end of October. furloughed workers across UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500.
However, the following changes are planned to come into force in August.
We understand that the Treasury has devised a scheme which would see employers cover. between 20% and 30% of a worker’s wage.
The plans would also see firms paying national insurance contributions, which are approximately 5 per cent of people’s wages.
All employers will have to make the payments.
The government will, however, continue paying pension contributions.
Q.As the situation improves and the government reveal their roadmap to easing lockdown, if I decide to bring some staff off furlough, what steps do need to take?
Firstly, to qualify to claim grants from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme your employees need to be on furlough for at least three weeks.
Bringing staff back before the three week period means you forfeit the right to your funding.
Remember that staff cannot work for you while they are on furlough.
• KEY GUIDELINES
• Discuss ending furlough with staff to ensure they are not shielding (defined as clinically vulnerable)
• Tell relevant staff their furlough is ending
• Send a return to work letter confirming their start date.
• As furlough grants are paid retrospectively you don’t need to inform HMRC that they returned to work.
• Keep accurate records on the length of your employees’ furlough periods
Q. Can I unfurlough staff to work on a part-time basis?
Not now, but from August you will be allowed to take furloughed staff back to work on a part-time basis.
You will be required to declare how many hours they have worked. No further details are available at present.
Q. Who should I not ask to come back to work?
Anyone who is “shielding” according to government advice.
Q. Can I claim back any of the coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). I have had to pay out to staff?
A new online service to let small and medium-sized employers claim back some coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) has been launched.
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme opened on the 26 of May 2020
The scheme is run by the HMRC and you’ll be able to apply for your rebate online.
The scheme covers Statutory Sick Pay for up to two weeks of illness. You can apply for rebates on SSP paid due to coronavirus-related sickness or self-isolation that started on or after the 13 of March 2020.
You can also apply for rebates on SSP paid to employees who started shielding on or after the 16 of April.
Employees must be on a PAYE payroll scheme created and started before the 28 of February. This includes:
• full-time employees
• part-time employees
• employees on agency contracts
• employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
• Not included are employees on furlough
• A record of all SSP paid to employees that you wish to claim must be submitted
Q.One of my staff took a second job while they were furloughed Is this legal?
I have asked my employee to return to work but she says her childrens’ school isn’t opening and she needs to stay at home. Where do I stand?
The government has said that if a person unable to work due to childcare responsibilities, then you, as employer, can continue to furlough them using the Job Retention Scheme
Alternatively, you can ask them to work more flexibly, such as at different times or for fewer hours.
Another option is that they can ask for indefinite unpaid leave until they are able to work again.
My employee says it’s not safe for her to travel on public transport and that it is my responsibility to keep her safe. Is this true?
As an employer you have a duty to ensure that your workplace does not pose a risk to health and safety.
Your duty is, however, limited to things that are under your control and therefore does not include public transport.