Are you intending to Furlough your employees? Here are some pointers and thoughts for consideration:

  • Do check contracts first to ensure that you have the ability to take this action within a flexible clause, if not the employee would need to consent.

 

  • If you place an employee into this status, they then cannot perform any work for the company – even at home. If they work, then they are not eligible for the Job Retention Scheme.  You are able to rotate the members of staff in and off the scheme; however they have to do a minimum of 3 weeks.

 

  • The Government Job Retention Scheme is a grant and not a loan so repayment is not required. It pays up to 80% of a maximum of £2,500 – which is just above the average income of a UK worker. The scheme is proposed from 1 March 2020 to 1st June 2020. If you pay your employee, say on the last day of March, they are then entitled from the 1st April to be placed on the scheme.

 

  • As the grant awarded to an employee is for unpaid work, it is acceptable if the grant provided falls below the National Minimum Wage.

 

  • Only the employer can access the portal when it is live to place individuals onto the scheme via HMRC.

The government has announced it is allowing workers to carry over up to four weeks (not 5.6 weeks) annual leave into the next two leave years.

The (as yet unpublished) forthcoming The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 amend regulation 13 of the Working Time Regulations to allow workers to carry over EU holiday into the next two leave years, where it is not reasonably practicable for them to take some, or all, of the holiday they are entitled to due to coronavirus.

The balance of 1.6 weeks’ statutory leave will not be affected (although it can be carried over for up to a year by agreement under existing law).

This is particularly helpful for those companies who face such pressure from the impact of COVID-19 and where they have staff deemed as Key Workers and making such great effort to support us in these turbulant times and not able / will not be able to take any leave for quite some time.

 

  • The scheme is “an income” to an employee and is therefore subject to Income Tax and National Insurance.  Employers can reclaim the associated employer NICs and minimum auto enrolment pension contributions on the income paid to the employee through the scheme.  Fees, commissions and bonuses are not included.

 

  • As an employer you can top up, to £2,500 if you wish for an employee – it is not mandatory. This will dependent on the affordability of the company at this current time.

 

  • Formal communication is required to be written to the employee.

If you need any support as you progress through this turbulent time, I am offering free advice and guidance, along with formal communications which need to be written.

Serena Bower (MCIPD)

Bower HR Consultancy

[email protected]

07771 934702