As the infection rate decreases, lockdown measures are slowly being lifted and many industries are now being actively encouraged to return to work​, including Manufacturing, Construction and Engineering.

Although working from home is still recommended when possible, if it isn't possible and the employee works in doesn't fall into either shielding or childcare issues categories then they should return to work (excludes non-essential retail, hospitality and beauty). 

 

Social distancing must be practiced, which means keeping a minimum of 2 metres apart.  Employers may want to consider staggered start and finish times and break times, moving desks in open plan offices, asking suppliers and customers to stay away for now.  Soap and hot water should always be available in the workplace and hand sanitiser (minimum 60% alcohol) should now be available in all areas.

Employers are advised to conduct a Covid Risk Assessment and, in situations where the risk cannot be eliminated, to put in place additional measures to reduce the risk to the lowest possible level.  This includes PPE, such as gloves and face masks, where appropriate.

Anyone with a new, persistent dry cough and / or a fever or loss of taste or smell, should self-isolate for 7 days.  SSP should be paid from the first day of absence and will be refunded by the Government.

Similarly, if the employee shares their household with someone who develops any of these symptoms or they are identified through the new Test and Trace scheme, they should self isolate for 14 days.  Again SSP should be paid from day one and will be refunded by the Government.

COVID-19 Advice for Employers

Let our HR Consultants help you through the minefield of being an employer during the Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been introduced to provide financial support for employers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 who, otherwise would need to make redundancies or layoffs.

This information has been amended to reflect the updated Government guidance released on 29 May 2020 and may still be subject to further change.

The new flexible furlough scheme will start on 1 July and will be available until the end of October 2020​ but from July, employees will be able to work part time for their employer whilst the employer continues to be able to claim furlough for the days there is no work available.

You should revisit the original furlough agreement and reissue a further amendment as the first agreement should have stated that the employee must not carry out any work for the employer.  The new agreement should set out the detail of the new temporary part time working arrangements.

If your employee worked 5 days each week prior to being furloughed and from July you have enough work for them to be able to work 2 days a week, you would be expected to pay their normal salary rate for the days they are working but you will be able to continue to claim from the Job Retention Scheme.

From August, the Government will begin withdrawing its funding to the scheme, initially by removing the grant for Employers NI and Pension contributions.

In September, you will be expected to pay 10% of furloughed employees salary (still capped at £2,500), with the Government reducing its contribution to 70%,

This will reduce further in October, with the Government only contributing 60% and you will have to pay 20%.

At this time, there is no suggestion that the Employer contribution will be discretionary so you may want to start considering how you will fund the employer elements. 

The current scheme will end on 30 June and no new entrants will be allowed onto the scheme after this date.  To comply with the three week minimum furlough period, this means anyone not furloughed at some point before 10 June will not be able to be furloughed.

All claims relating to the old scheme, which closes on 30 June, must be submitted by the end of July.

All claims relating to the new scheme, which starts on 1 July, must only include one calendar month.

The Guidance makes no reference yet to the payment of annual leave whilst on the Flexible Furlough but it is thought likely that as the employee will be working part time then the employer will be expected to make holiday payments.

We advise employers to conduct a Covid Risk Assessment and, in situations where the risk cannot be eliminated, to put in place additional measures to reduce the risk to the lowest possible level.  This includes PPE, such as gloves and face masks, where appropriate.

Anyone with a new, persistent dry cough and / or a fever or loss of taste or smell, should self-isolate for 7 days.  SSP should be paid from the first day of absence and will be refunded by the Government.

Similarly, if the employee shares their household with someone who develops any of these symptoms or they are identified through the new Test and Trace scheme, they should self isolate for 14 days.  Again SSP should be paid from day one and will be refunded by the Government.

It is also unclear as to whether rotational furlough will be able to continue, which is the practice some employers have used to have half their staff in work for 3 weeks and then furloughed to allow the other half of the team to be able to work, but it would seem likely as the basis of the new scheme is to give the employer the greatest flexibility with its workforce.

As the Government issues further guidance, we will endeavour to update this page.

Further updates due 12 June 2020

Bear Human Resources Ltd

Cardiff House | Cardiff Road | Vale of Glamorgan | CF63 2AW 

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