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Covid-19

Furlough scheme to end – 30 September

Posted on: September 8th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Having supported a total of 11.6 million jobs since it began, the furlough scheme is coming to an end on 30 September 2021. If any employees are still on furlough, here are a few things to consider before the scheme ends:

Notice – unless your furlough agreement says otherwise, there’s no minimum notice required to inform employees their period of furlough is ending and you should end any furlough agreements in writing (click here to access our template letter). Wherever possible, talk to employees as early as you can about plans for their return to work.

Planning the return – share any measures you’ve introduced to keep the workplace safe, any adjusted working arrangements introduced, and give those returning an opportunity to raise any concerns about their return. Allow employees time to adjust, think about whether refresher training is necessary, and share any wellbeing resources you have available to smooth out their integration back into the team.

Redundancy – if you’re left with no other option but to consider making redundancies when furlough support ends, following a fair and robust process is paramount. We’ve provided extensive practical insight to help you tackle the process proactively, pragmatically, and secure the right outcome for your business and your people.

Get in touch if you need advice or support on how the end to furlough will impact your business. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (8 September 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Furlough fail – new tribunal guidance

Posted on: August 11th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Failing to consider furlough when making an employee redundant may make the dismissal unfair following a recent decision.

Background

The employee was a care assistant with over two years’ service. She was put at risk of redundancy. The employee asked to be furloughed with her employer refusing due to there being ‘no work for her’ – she was dismissed by reason of redundancy in July 2020 and claimed unfair dismissal.

Practical takeaway 

Firstly, this decision does not mean that if you choose to make redundancies whilst furlough is available you’ll automatically be found to have done so unfairly. But, as ever the tribunal will look at the steps you took to avoid making redundancies including your approach to furlough.

If you take the decision that furlough is not a viable alternative to redundancies, you’ll need to discuss this as part of the consultation, keep records of your conversations, evidence why furlough wasn’t a viable alternative and write to the employee confirming as much.

Get in touch if you need our support in avoiding redundancies or navigating your way through the process. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (12 August 2021), but may be subject to change which may, or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Furlough ending 30 September

Posted on: July 26th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

The furlough scheme is due to close at the end of September 2021. From 1 August employers will be required to make a greater contribution to furloughed employees’ wages.

End to furlough – the scheme is due to end on 30 September 2021. The latest government figures show that around 2.3 million employees are still being furloughed (compared to the 8.8 million peak in May 2020).

Furlough contributions – from 1 August to 30 September, the government will contribute 60% of wages up to £1,875 and you will need to contribute the remaining 20% up to £625 when employees are furloughed (along with NICs and pension contributions).

Top up – you can still decide to top up employees’ wages beyond the 80% total while furloughed.

Notice pay – don’t forget that you cannot use furlough to cover notice pay.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (26 July 2021), but may be subject to change which may, or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Coronavirus restrictions lifted

Posted on: July 22nd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Here are the key considerations for employers following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

Working from home – the government is now recommending a gradual return to the workplace over the summer (as opposed to the work from home message). If maintaining flexibility is part of your future, you’ll want to take a look at our latest update series.

Self-isolation – if an employee tests positive or is contacted by NHS Track and Trace as having been in contact with someone who has tested positive, they are still required to self-isolate. If an employee is ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app, there is no legal obligation to self-isolate, however government guidance is that they should still do so.

Health and safety concerns – whilst there is no legal requirement for an employee ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app to self-isolate, requiring them to attend work raises the risk of transmission to a colleague or customer. In this event, you’re open to potential claims of negligence and constructive dismissal if an employee resigns on the basis of an unsafe workplace. We recommend insisting an employee does not attend work in these circumstances.

Get in touch if you need further support in managing anything we’ve outlined above.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (22 July 2021), but may be subject to change which may, or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

01 July change to furlough contributions

Posted on: June 15th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

From 01 July, employers are required to contribute 10% of furloughed employees’ wages (along with NICs and pension contributions).

01 July – the government will contribute 70% of wages up to £2,187.50 and you will need to contribute the remaining 10% up to £312.50 when employees are furloughed (along with NICs and pension contributions).

01 August to 30 September – the government will contribute 60% of wages up to £1,875 and you will need to contribute the remaining 20% up to £625 when employees are furloughed (along with NICs and pension contributions).

Top up – you can decide to top up employees’ wages beyond the 80% total while furloughed.

Notice pay – don’t forget that you cannot use furlough to cover notice pay.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is due to end on 30 September 2021.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (15 June 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.