21st December 2020
Guidance has been updated this morning to inform that individuals who are shielding should not go to work if they are in tier 4 areas. Tiers 1,2 and 3 can continue to attend work if they can not work from home as per the guidance
17th December 2020 – School Return in January
The government has now confirmed that secondary schools will teach remotely for the first week back in January, with students only attending school for COVID tests (students in exam years may still attend in person). Following that week, it is unknown whether there will be a staggered return.
Businesses should be aware that this may potentially cause some issues with childcare and flexibility, however as at present it is only secondary schools (and not primaries) affected, this hopefully will be minimal.
17th December 2020
The government have today announced a further extension to the furlough scheme, which will now be in place until the end of April 2021.
The scheme was previously due to end in March. It is hoped this will provide further protection and support to jobs and the economy into the new year
Furlough Guidelines Update 2nd December 2020
The guidelines were updated yesterday to cover the issue of staff being furloughed due to downturn in work over the festive period. They now clearly state:
You should not place employees on furlough just because:
- they are going to be on paid leave
- you usually do less business over the festive period
This therefore confirms that if you usually have a festive shut down, or quieter periods over the festive period, this will not be sufficient reason to place your staff on furlough.
Update to Shielding and Tiers Guidance from 2nd December 2020 (issued 27th November)
The guidance clarifies that individuals should follow the information that relates to the higher of the tiers if they have to travel. I.e. if they live in Tier 1, but work in Tier 2, they should follow Tier 2 guidance. By contrast, if they live in Tier 2 but work in Tier 1, they should still follow Tier 2 guidance (as the higher is the dominant factor).
All individuals who are still required to shield after 2nd December 2020, will receive a new shielding notification. Staff who receive this notification will still be required to work from home, and if they cannot work from home, they may be eligible for furlough or SSP.
Staff who consider they are CEV but do not receive the new shielding notice should speak to their GP or Consultant. Where the advice is that the individual does not need to shield, they should follow the guidance relating to attending work with some precautions. All workplaces should be Covid secure, however consideration should be given to aspects such as travel, public transport, working hours, interaction with other individuals etc. This should all be detailed within the risk assessment.
If you require any further advice, please contact your designated consultant. The full guidance is available here:
Update 14th November 2020
Revised furlough guidance was published last night, which has now confirmed that with effect from 1st December furlough grants will not be able to be claimed for employees working their notice (whether statutory or contractual).
This means that you can claim furlough for staff on notice until 30th November, but from 1st December onwards this cost will not be eligible for the grant
The full guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
Update 11th November 2020
Scheme Guidance Update
Last night, the updated scheme details for furlough were released: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
The main changes are:
- Claims for the period from 1th November can be made from 11th November
- Any fraudulent claims may be withheld or required to be paid back
- Confirmation that you can claim furlough for an employee serving a statutory notice period
Staff can be furloughed if they are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), or unable to work due to caring responsibilities resulting from Covid, including employees that need to look after children :
If your employee is:
- unable to work because they are clinically extremely vulnerable, or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and following public health guidance
- unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), including employees that need to look after children
One section that has been updated in the guidance is that around redundancy, which now reads:
The government is reviewing whether employers should be eligible to claim for employees serving contractual or statutory notice periods and will change the approach for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, with further guidance published in late November.
Up to date guidelines
Update – 5th November 2020
Further guidance around the Furlough Scheme has been issued today – with the final and full details expected on 10th November.
The main points from todays updates are:
- The Furlough Scheme has been extended until 31st March 2020, with a review in January
- The Bonus which was previously due to be paid in February is now on hold
- Those shielding, or with childcare responsibilities can be furloughed
- Employees do not need to have been claimed for previously to use the scheme
- Staff who are furloughed, and fall ill can be kept on furlough or moved to SSP, at businesses discretion
- Staff who were employed on 23rd September, and have been made redundant or had a fixed term contract ended can be rehired under the new scheme
Claim calculations are detailed within this guidance:
Update 5th November 2020 – Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Group
Guidelines relating to individuals who are classes as CEV (those who were previously shielding) have been released. The advice is to work from home, and if they cannot work from home they should not attend work.
Full details available here:
3rd November 2020
Following on from the Prime Ministers announcement on Saturday, the UK will be entering a second lockdown with effect from 5th November.
As a result of this, the Job Support Scheme (JSS) has been placed on hold, and furlough has been reinstated to cover the lockdown period (currently proposed until 2nd December).
The final details are not yet confirmed, but summarised below is what we know about the scheme so far:
- Wages will be paid at 80% (government contribution) – capped at £2500 per month
- Employers only have to cover NI and pension costs
- Employers can top up the 80% if they so wish
- The scheme can be used for full hours or part (Flexible furlough)
- Employees do not have to have previously been furloughed to use the new scheme
- Employees must have been notified on RTI submission on 30th October to be eligible
- Employees who were employed on 23 September and on RTI on or before that date, who have since been made redundant can be rehired and placed on the scheme
Areas we are still awaiting clarification of:
- Whether furlough can be used to cover notice periods, whether it can be used for childcare and whether the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) group can be placed on furlough
- Staff who fall into the CEV group are now advised to work from home if they can, and if not, they are currently may be eligible for SSP and should not work during this period. This information may be further updated – but can be found in section 9 of the third document pasted below