January 8

How do we support employees unable to work normal hours due to childcare responsibilities….?

On Monday 4 January 2021, the prime minister announced that a new lockdown in England would commence immediately and last until at least mid-February 2021. Schools will close to most pupils, and instead offer online learning until after February’s half-term break.

Many working parents will, once again, find their home and professional lives blurred in a way unimaginable before March 2020. With schools, nurseries and childcare facilities closed to the majority of children, working parents are suddenly tasked with video conferencing whilst simultaneously supervising a maths lesson or working late into the night as the penance for an afternoon spent with the kids.

What practical steps can employers take?

1. What if it is not practical for the employee to work effectively from home?

Unpaid dependant care leave: an employee can take unpaid time off to take whatever action is necessary because of the unexpected disruption or termination of arrangements for the care of their child (which includes school closures).

Furlough leave: employees can be furloughed because they are ‘unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus, including employees that need to look after children’. An employer does not need to be facing a wider reduction in demand, or be closed, to be eligible to claim for these employees.

Unpaid parental leave: parents of a child under 18, who are employees with one year’s service, can take up to four weeks’ unpaid parental leave per year (up to a maximum of 18 weeks in total), although an employer could allow more time to be used in these specific circumstances.

Taking annual leave: the employee could take some annual leave to cover times when alternative childcare is not available. Holiday could be taken either be in single blocks of time or, with the employer’s agreement, broken into a few days holiday each week, to allow the employee to work fewer hours.

Reverse time off in lieu: it may be possible for the employer and employee to agree that the employee will be granted some paid time off now, which will be made up the time later in the year (eg by working unpaid overtime).

2. What if the employee can work from home but is juggling childcare responsibilities?

Set core hours and then allow for flexi schedules: require all staff to work between 11am and 4pm and beyond those core hours allow staff to work early mornings and into the evenings so that they are free to share childcare duties with their partner.

Allow a temporary change to working patterns: if need be, consider a request to revise hours for a month or two whilst employees manage their childcare responsibilities.

Allocate no-meeting hours: consider when parents are most busy with childcare duties and block out those hours as meeting-free, this maybe first thing in the morning, around lunchtime or at the end of the school day. Take a survey and go with the majority view.

Create a group for parents on whatever social media platform you use internally: already a ‘thing’ in many organisations in the UK, this sort of group provides support, practical and moral, for employees juggling frantically!

3. Further helpful practical steps to take…

• Free antigen tests for employees, their partners and anyone over 18 years old living in their household.

• Emergency loans of up to say £750 per person.

• Option to reduce pension salary sacrifice for a year.

For advice on any of the above please get in touch: nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or 07917 878384

November 24

Making redundancies during lockdown….

With job losses continuing to hit the headlines and one in three firms reporting a likelihood of having to make redundancies over the next three months, many admit they are unaware of the rules surrounding the consultation process, particularly in lockdown.

Despite the challenges of COVID 19, it is important for employers to ensure the correct procedures are followed and communication is properly maintained when such a decision has to be taken remotely.

Mitigating risk

Mitigating the risk of claims for unfair dismissal is key. Successful claims can entitle employees to compensation of up to 52 weeks’ gross pay (subject to a statutory cap) and, even if unsuccessful, require significant resources of time and money to defend.

Careful planning of the redundancy process will reduce the risks of such claims being brought.

Timing of consultation

• If you are proposing to dismiss less than 20 staff, there are no set rules around when to consult, or for how long, but full and proper consultation is important to ensure the redundancy is not unfair.

• If you are proposing to dismiss 20 or more employees in a 90 day period, a 30 day consultation period, before the first of the dismissals takes effect, is required.

• The consultation period rises to 45 days if 100 or more dismissals are proposed.

Purpose of consultation

Consultation should be carried out with a view to reaching agreement with the employees on the matters discussed and should cover:

• The way in which dismissals can be avoided or the number reduced, such as pay cuts or reductions in hours.

• The way in which employees will be selected for redundancy.

• The fact that voluntary redundancy can be offered as way to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Consultation during COVID

Consultation should start as early as possible and before firm decisions have been made. If businesses are aware that job losses are already required or are likely to follow the winding down of the furlough scheme they should start to consult with their employees as early as possible.

The pool of affected employees must be made regardless of whether an employee is on furlough or not. Although the fact that an employee has been furloughed may indicate that their role is not essential, employers should ensure they do not automatically place all furloughed employees into the pool for selection.

Certain groups, such as women and those who are clinically vulnerable, are more likely to have been furloughed due to childcare or medical reasons, which could lead to claims for discrimination if they are automatically selected for the pool.

Use criteria that are as objective as possible and ensure two managers are scoring. Potentially redundant employees should be given the opportunity to challenge their selection for redundancy and suggest alternatives and, where possible, alternative roles should be sought within the organisation or any wider group.

Video-conferencing is the best substitute for face to face consultation. Once lockdown has eased to the extent that we can safely meet in person, discussions as significant as one regarding redundancy should where possible be held in person. However, in the absence of face to face, conferencing via Zoom, Teams or the equivalent is the only acceptable method – redundancy via email or a phone call will land you in hot water!

Employees should also be given the right to appeal against their dismissal. This should be heard by someone in the organisation who has not been involved in the redundancy process.

Five principles for employers to consider if they are facing tough decisions in the coming weeks.

Do it openly: whatever the scale, the sooner people understand the situation, the better for everyone.

Do it thoroughly: offer employees the information and guidance they need to make decisions.

Do it genuinely: consultation means hearing people’s views before you make a decision, so be open to alternatives from individuals and always give feedback.

Do it fairly: organisations must ensure that the procedures take place without any form of discrimination.

Do it with dignity: the way you let people go says a lot about your company’s values. Employers must think carefully about how they handle these conversations, whether face-to-face or remote.

Contact nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call +44 (0)7917878384.

November 18

Christmas in the workplace….COVID friendly!

How do you celebrate Christmas during COVID? In a year when your staff, more than ever, deserve thanks it looks like the Christmas party will be impossible to pull off and any festive celebration will be difficult and very different from the way that your staff are used to…

Even if we are out of lockdown in early December it is quite likely that there will be pressure to find ways to celebrate whilst also complying with the ‘rule of six’, social distancing guidelines, reduced hours and all the other rules and regulations that are imposed upon us as a result of COVID.

However, with a little creativity and effort it will be possible to reward and engage your staff in different ways this year, some ideas are as follows:

Virtual fun!

A virtual alternative to the Christmas ‘do’ is par for the course in a year dominated by zoom or teams or the like! A Christmas quiz may be a little tame and the chances are quizzes have become the end of month ‘norm’ but you could send out party packs in advance of the event containing the following:

• Cocktail making equipment
• Pictionary – it’s possible – and fun – to play this over video
• Themed cards, hats and props for a game of charades
• Festive-themed bingo sets
• Virtual karaoke – end of night once everyone has warmed up!

Eat, drink and be merry

This could be a simple gift of a voucher for your employee and their family for a food delivery service, so they can dine in on the company.

More ambitiously, especially if you are all geographically close by, you could set aside a time when a local pub, restaurant or takeaway will deliver so you can enjoy food together, but apart. Don’t forget a box of Christmas crackers!

Secret Santa

There are plenty of online Secret Santa sites that can help organise a present-giving system, either with contributions from the employer or with an agreed spending limit for participants.

With a bit of planning, gifts can be delivered and then opened at an agreed time on a team video call! Just make sure you agree the logistics – who contributes, how much, and who covers practicalities such as postage costs.

Say it with a hamper

Christmas hampers can sometimes feel a bit old-fashioned and don’t always deliver the best value for money – but choose carefully and they can be very well received. Be thoughtful about the contents – alcohol or meat products may not be appropriate for everyone – and try to personalise wherever possible.

Twelve Days of Christmas!

Why not host your very own 12 days of Christmas! You could, for example, set aside a prize fund for each day from December 1st to the 12th. Pull names out of a hat to win a prize each day, with maybe twelve winners on 1 December, eleven on 2 December and so on…..until there is one big winner on the final day – the prizes get bigger as the number of winners get smaller!

Staff awards ceremony

As well as thanking all employees who have worked so hard to keep the business going through exceptional challenges with a gift or an event, you could pay special attention to those who have gone the extra mile during lockdown and beyond. An online ‘awards ceremony’ could be held by you with silly hats rather than black tie!

There’s always next year…

Although activities like these aren’t exactly what we imagined we’d be doing at this time of year, businesses must get imaginative and find new ways to excite employees and inject some fun into their day – these sorts of virtual experiences and events are a great alternative way to engage and motivate your employees this year…..doing nothing is not an option!

Contact nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call +44 (0)7917878384.

November 6

Furlough extended until end of March 2021….

The government has just announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the furlough scheme) will now continue until 31 March 2021 as follows:

• The employer must have made a PAYE RTI submission between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020.

• The employee must have been on payroll on 30 October 2020.

• Employer does not need to have used the furlough scheme before.

• Employer can fully furlough employees or use the flexible furlough scheme – employees can work full time, part time, undertake shift work or take on no work at all.

• Employers will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension costs for employees who are fully furloughed.

• Employers will have to pay their employees usual wages for the hours worked.

• The furlough scheme can be used for employees who are shielding or who have caring responsibilities.

• Employees on payroll on 23 September 2020 and who were subsequently made redundant (or who were on a fixed term contract which expired on or after 23 September 2020) can be re-employed and claimed for provided an RTI submission was made from 20 March until 23 September 2020.

• To be eligible for the grant the employer must confirm in writing to the employee that they have been fully or flexibly furloughed.

• The employer will be able to claim 80% of the employee’s usual wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month – the cap of £2,500 being proportional to the hours not worked.

• This scheme will be reviewed by the government in January 2021.

Any queries email nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call +44 (0)7917 878384

November 3

The rise of the freelancer during the pandemic….how to safely engage them….

The coronavirus pandemic has forced SME leaders to rethink their workforce as the reality is that many will be unable to retain or rehire furloughed staff – further they may have made many redundancies and are considering more, despite the reprieve that the further extension of the furlough scheme has provided.

Many of these businesses have turned to freelancers to assist in this challenging period as they look to survive and pivot in this new world….

….similarly, employees on furlough with the permission to work ‘elsewhere’, or who have been made redundant in a market place with few jobs, are having to think creatively about they way they are engaged going forward…

For employers, the argument for utilising freelancers is irresistible given the current situation – they are used to:

• remote working,
• collaborating within teams,
• hitting deadlines,
• they work hard to both retain custom and boost their all-important reputation.

It’s the agility of freelancers that is now most attractive and this trend looks to continue.

THE PROS OF HIRING A FREELANCER

Here are some of the main benefits of hiring a freelancer:

• Experienced experts/specialists in their field
• No obligation to offer holiday/sick pay
• Paid only for the time that they work
• Independent and committed they require little management
• They insure themselves.

THE CONS OF HIRING A FREELANCER

Here are the cons of hiring a freelancer:

• Focus on the job they are hired to do, rather than assist on various tasks
• Experienced freelancers may be expensive
• You are still responsible for their health and safety if working on your premises
• Work on multiple jobs, for many clients so may not always be available
• Remote working so requiring a degree of trust.

LEGALITIES TO BE AWARE OF

As with hiring an employee, there are certain legalities that you need to be aware of when you are hiring a freelancer:

Confidential Information

If the freelancer is exposed to confidential information about your business, then you need to make sure that somewhere in the contract it is made clear that this information is confidential and there will be repercussions if they use or reveal that information.

Intellectual property

When an employee works for you, their work and creation will belong to the business. However, this is different for freelancers. If you want the right of ownership of the intellectual property, this needs to be agreed on and be specified in the contract.

Health and Safety

Most freelancers will work on a remote basis which means that you will not be responsible for their health and safety. However, if they are working on your premises, you will be responsible if they are harmed due to failure to have a safe working environment.

Contract

A contract is the most important document when it comes to working relationships. The contract should include all the details of the working relationship between you and the freelancer, and it should be WRITTEN….although a verbal contract can be easy, it’s harder to use as evidence if there is an issue or dispute.

Contact nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call +44 (0)7917878384 for an up to date freelancer agreement.

October 27

Newsflash! The Job Support Scheme has been tweaked to be more inviting….!

The Job Support Scheme – which comes into effect on 1 November 2020 – when first announced, saw employers paying a third of their employees’ wages for hours not worked and required employees to be working at least a third of their normal hours.

All change!!!

A new scheme was announced yesterday which reduced the employer contribution to those unworked hours to just 5% and reduces the minimum hours requirement on employees to 20%, so those working just one day a week will be eligible.

The ENHANCED Part-time Job Support Scheme key facts

• Begins 1 November 2020 and runs for six months and replaces the furlough scheme
• Employees must work 20% of their hours (down from an originally stated one-third) to qualify
• Staff must have been on an employer’s payroll on 23 September 2020 to qualify for the scheme (redundancies since this date may be able to be reinstated)
• Staff will receive a 27% pay cut
• Government will pay 62% of unworked hours, capped at £1,541.75 per month
• Employer will pay just 5% of unworked hours – down from 33%
• All SMEs are eligible for the scheme
• Larger businesses must demonstrate a slump in turnover
• Firms on scheme cannot make staff redundant
• Cash grants of up to £2,100 a month are available for businesses in Tier 2 areas – mostly targeting hospitality and leisure firms
• These are available retrospectively for firms in areas already subject to tighter Tier 2 restrictions

Businesses that have not used the furlough scheme can also access the new scheme, but not all companies will be able to apply because larger companies can still only access the scheme if their turnover has fallen significantly as a result of the pandemic.

Companies must pay the full wage for hours worked. It will then have to contribute a small top up for hours not worked alongside the Government in order to receive the subsidy.

Any queries please email nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call +44 7917878384

October 19

When did you last check in on the wellbeing of your staff….?

There is plenty of research that shows a happy workforce increases performance and productivity in a business. Employees who feel physically and emotionally healthy are more likely to be engaged, productive and committed to their jobs.

They will also be more able to cope with the disruption and stress a new routine may bring.

COVID has resulted in a huge rise in home working and a related increasing reliance on technology – both of which can have a potential impact on the health and wellbeing of our workforce.

Adapting to homeworking

It can be difficult for employees to adapt to a new work style if they are used to a high level of interaction with their team every day. If a typical working day involves a bustling office atmosphere, calling clients or attending meetings, the new working from home policy can take its toll on employee’s mental health and wellbeing as this drastic change can cause a feeling of isolation.

Safeguarding your employee’s mental health and emotional wellbeing does not have to be on overwhelming task, even a quick phone call can go a long way.

Keep in contact

• Daily, every other day or weekly phone calls or even video calls are key.
• They will enable you to continually assess workflow, set new tasks and check on your employee’s wellbeing.
• They open up the opportunity to discuss topics that aren’t work-related – catching up on plans for the weekend, asking after their family…..you would usually have these types of conversations in passing, over lunch or in brief meetings so it’s important to maintain this level of socialising where you can.

Promote a healthy work-life balance

Overwork is more of a threat to an organisation than underwork when staff are working from home.

There are fewer colleagues to take you for a coffee or pull you over for an opportune chat. Video calls take up so much of the day that subsequent actions and written work are being done in the evenings. The inbox buzzes from dawn till dusk – with early starters and late finishers emailing around the clock.

As an employer you need to balance keeping productivity up alongside encouraging people to keep taking breaks. When working from home it can be very easy to feel tempted to stay at your laptop throughout your lunch or extend the end of the day by a few hours.

Some ideas:

• Encourage staff to work only their contracted hours and not stretch their working day into home life
• Ban online meetings between 12 and 1, to encourage a proper lunch break.
• Make 1:1s a walking phone call outside, to encourage exercise and a screen break.
• Encourage staff to put their work equipment out of sight when its home time which will make a big difference in marking the end of the working day.
• Share links to free apps such as Nike Training Club or Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer

Schedule regular team meetings

Ensure team meetings and catch-ups scheduled in your diary are not bumped out, they are an important way to connect with your staff.

They will:
• Ensure the consistency of the normal working week
• Replicate the ‘buzz’ of the normal work environment, helping people connect and socialise.
• Enable virtual lunches to be established where employees can eat with each other over a video call

Collaborative tools and platforms

There are plenty of tools that allow employees to interact with one another. Employees can often feel like they are on an island so by having the ability to surround themselves with colleagues through these inherently social collaboration forums, can boost productivity and morale.

Note though the phenomenon of ‘zoom fatigue’! Video calls are found to be a more draining way to meet with colleagues as our brains need to work harder to process information and work out visual cues that we rely on in analogue exchanges.

• Appreciating that conference calling can be difficult for those who are the less forthright in a team will help managers to facilitate online meetings.
• Cap the number of attendees when appropriate.
• Employees who feel they are spending an excessive amount of time in virtual meetings need to be encouraged to have the confidence to ask to step out when required.
• All virtual meeting attendees should turn off all other digital distractions such as phone and inbox to help them be truly present and get the most out of the time on the call.

Provide mental health training and resources

It is important that your employees know that you support them so by communicating this to them can really benefit their wellbeing. Employee Assistance Programmes are a resource that employers can sign up to giving employees unlimited access to phone support from qualified counsellors so they can discuss anything they need to.

Running a ‘wellbeing’ day or week or month is always well received. You may consider the following to get staff motivated and engaged:

• Virtual lunch with a Deliveroo allowance
• Virtual yoga or meditation sessions
• Virtual mindfulness
• Virtual session on health and nutrition
• Virtual bingo or quiz
• Random act of kindness – posted each month

Call to action!

• GoodHR can provide you with a staff wellbeing checklist for your managers and heads of department.
• GoodHR can provide you with a mental health and wellbeing audit – and even conduct it on your behalf, gathering the information and feeding it back to you.

Do get in touch by email to nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call 07917 878384

October 8

The new Job Support Scheme….some of your questions answered….!

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will provide ongoing wage support for people in work, provided that the employer meets certain access conditions, the employee is working at least 33% of their usual hours, and the employer also provides additional wage support. It will start on 1 November and continue until the end of April 2021. The furlough scheme will come to an end on 31 October 2020 as planned.

Is the scheme open to all employers?

The JSS is open to all employers with eligible employees, a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme.

Do we need to prove that our trading conditions have been impacted?

Not if you are an SME. If you are a large employer, however, you will need to demonstrate that your turnover is lower as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

What if some parts of our business have been impacted but not others?

If you are an SME, you won’t need to pass any financial impact test and you can access the JSS even if the pandemic has only had an impact on a small part of your business.

What’s the definition of an SME for these purposes?

This has not been announced yet. If it is based on the definition in the Companies Act 2006, it will mean (broadly) that a company would be defined as an SME if it meets at least two of the following requirements:
• annual turnover of £36 million or below
• balance sheet total of £18 million or below
• 250 or fewer employees

Which employees can we put on the scheme?

To be eligible for the JSS, employees must have been on your PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment to that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 23 September 2020.
The employee must work at least 33% of their usual hours.

What if there’s just no work at all for some employees?

The minimum hours requirement is a key component of the JSS. If you don’t have enough work to provide even a third of an employee’s usual hours, you will not be able to put them into the scheme.

We don’t think we can guarantee 33% of usual hours every week – can we still use the JSS?

Employees will be able to cycle on and off the scheme and do not need to be working the same pattern each month – although each short-time working arrangement must cover a minimum period of seven days.
This suggests that you may be able to move employees out of the JSS for periods in which they are not working 33% of their usual hours (although you would need to agree with your employees what will happen in those periods).

If we put employees into the scheme, do we need to promise that we won’t make them redundant for six months?

No, there is no ban on making redundancies for the whole six months of the scheme – but employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee. The employee would have to be moved out of the JSS and any claim for grant stopped if you needed to make them redundant before the scheme closed.

Can we claim the £1,000 job retention bonus while also claiming under the JSS?

Yes. You can claim your £1,000 bonus for bringing a furloughed employee back to work in addition to claiming ongoing support for that employee under the JSS. To qualify for the bonus, the employee would need to remain continuously employed through to the end of January 2021 and earn an average of £520 per month over that period.

Who pays what under the scheme?

The idea is that employees working at least 33% of their usual hours can have their pay topped up.

The unworked time is essentially split into three. The employer pays for a third of the unworked time, the government also pays for a third of the unworked time (up to a cap of £697.92) and the final third is unpaid.

What about National Insurance Contributions and employer pension contributions?

The grant will not cover Class 1 Employer NICS or pension contributions, although these contributions will remain payable by the employer.

It seems most likely that employers will need to pay these contributions in respect of both the government top-up and the employer top-up, as well as in respect of pay for hours actually worked.

Can we agree a different working pattern each week?

Yes, employees do not have to be working the same pattern each month, but each short-time working arrangement must cover a minimum period of seven days. This suggests that you can claim for a different amount of unworked hours each week, subject to the employee working at least 33% of their usual hours.

What if the employee takes holiday?

It is unclear at the moment as to whether holidays will “count” towards the 33% minimum working hours or if they will be treated as unworked hours. Employers may need to top up holiday pay in some cases to ensure that employees are receiving the correct statutory entitlement.

What if the employee is sick or under official instruction to self-isolate?

The employee would be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) in these circumstances, but it is not clear how time off sick will be treated under the JSS.

What agreements do we need in place?

Employers must agree the new short-time working arrangements with their staff, make any changes to the employment contract by agreement, and notify the employee in writing. This agreement must be made available to HMRC on request.

Get in touch with GOODHR if you want a template letter to reflect the new short-time working arrangements under the Job Support Scheme.

Either call on: +44(0)7917 878384 or email nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk

September 30

How will the new job support scheme work….?

The new Job Support Scheme, which will require employers to give staff a minimum of 33% of their usual hours, with the government covering some of the wages for the remaining hours not worked, will start on 1 November 2020…the day after the existing Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to an end….

• Under the scheme, the government will subsidise the pay of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to lower demand

• It will apply to staff who can work at least a third of their usual hours

• Employers will pay staff their usual rate for the hours they do work

• For the hours that employees cannot work, the government and the employer will each cover one third of the lost pay

• The government’s contribution will be capped at £697.92 per month

• All small and medium sized businesses will be eligible for the scheme

• Larger businesses will be eligible if their turnover has fallen during the crisis

• It will be open to employers across the UK even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme

• The scheme will run for six months starting on 1 November 2020

• The employee cannot be on notice of redundancy

• To qualify an employee must be on an employer’s payroll on or before 23 September 2020

In a nutshell:

Organisations will pay staff their full rate for the hours they do work – which must be at least 33% of their contracted hours to qualify for the support – with the government covering part of their wages for the hours there is no work for them.

So, for someone on £2,000 per month, if they work 50% of their hours they would receive £1,000 of normal pay from their employer, plus a further £333 from their employer and £333 from the government. The latter two payments make up the grant which has to be capped at £697.92 per month.

Do I use the scheme?

Employers have a decision to make now:

• Is the work there for staff to do, even on one-third hours?
• And is it economically viable to pay the employer’s share of the unworked hours on top?

Only when employers have done the sums will they know whether significant redundancies can be avoided.

Looking ahead:

Under this scheme, employers will be supported to offer staff shorter working hours in “viable jobs”, rather than make employees redundant.

There is no doubt that interaction with the £1000 Job Retention Bonus means that there is now a big incentive for organisations to retain workers part time to qualify for the bonus in January 2021. The end of January 2021 will become the all-important time to assess, once again, whether an organisation will have to start making any, or more, redundancies.

Employers must agree the new short-time working arrangements with employees and confirm them in writing. For any queries or assistance please get in touch: nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or +44(0)7917 878384

July 7

Flexible furlough….what employers will pay and top tips to navigate the new scheme….

What employers will pay under the new scheme

June and July:

• Employers are not required to pay anything.
The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as Employer National Insurance and pension contributions.

August:

Employers are required to pay:
• Employer National Insurance
• Pension contributions
The government will continue paying 80% of wages capped at £2,500.

September:

Employers are required to pay:
• Employer National Insurance
• Pension contributions
• 10% of wages to make up the 80% total to a cap of £2,500
The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50.

October:

Employers are required to pay:
• Employer National Insurance
• Pension contributions for furloughed employees
• 20% of wages to make up the 80% total to a cap of £2,500
The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875.

Top tips to navigate through the new flexible furlough scheme

1. Who is eligible to be furloughed under the new scheme?

Only employees who have been furloughed for at least three weeks on or before 30 June under the old scheme can be furloughed after 1 July. The only exceptions to this are where parents return to work after taking maternity, shared parental leave, adoption, paternity or parental bereavement leave.

2. Duration of furlough

From 1 July, you’ll be able to bring back previously furloughed employees for any amount of time and on any pattern of work and claim a grant for the hours not worked.

The last date anyone could be furloughed for the first time was 10 June. If you furloughed any employee on that date, you’ll be able to move them onto the new scheme immediately from 1 July.

However, it is now clear that if you re-furlough someone after 10 June, you will have to wait the full three weeks before you can move them onto the new scheme, regardless of whether this ends after 1 July.

3. Limits on numbers of people you can furlough from 1 July

The numbers of employees you can furlough in any period starting from 1 July can’t exceed the maximum numbers of employees you claimed for under the old scheme – although you don’t include returning parents in this calculation.

This may create some difficulties for employers who have already put in place rotating furlough patterns. For example, if you have divided your 200-strong workforce into two groups of 100 each and rotate them on three-weekly furlough, you won’t be able to put all 200 workers on flexible furlough so that everyone works half a week.

4. Claim periods

You must submit any claims under the old scheme by 31 July. After 1 July, you can’t submit claims that cross calendar months. This means that if you have staff whose furlough spans June and July, you’ll need to submit separate claims for June and July – even if they have been furloughed continuously.

5. Working out pay under the new scheme

If you don’t intend to ask staff to return to work, your pay calculations won’t change, although your contribution will increase from 1 August 2020.

However, if your staff do return to work part-time you’ll need to work out how many hours each employee usually works and off set this from the number or hours they have been furloughed.

You will need to decide if your employee has fixed or variable hours. If their pay depends on the number of hours they’ve worked, or they are not contracted to work a fixed number of hours, use the variable calculation. The government has provided some examples of how to do this.

6. Keeping records

You’ll need to keep a copy of all records for six years including:
• the amount claimed and claim period for each employee
• the claim reference number
• your calculations
• for employees who are flexibly furloughed, their usual hours including any calculations and the actual number of hours they have worked.

7. Written agreement

The guidance states that you need a “new written agreement” to confirm the new furlough arrangement. GoodHR can assist with a flexible furlough agreement…..

For any queries or assistance please get in touch nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or +44(0)7917 878384

NEWER OLDER 1 2 3 11 12