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Archive

Covid-19

Reluctant returners?

Posted on: February 11th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

With the government soon to announce whether we can begin to take steps to return to something that resembles ‘normal’, you’ll be thinking about planning for a return.

Here are a few things to consider…

Increased contact – hopefully you’ll have been in regular contact with your team, but now more than ever you’ll want to ensure employees feel engaged. Update on developments in the business will bring them up to speed and organising virtual team events are a fun and easy way to reintegrate.

Working practices – it’s likely things will look completely different on employees’ return. Share any alterations to working practices, procedural changes, or anything that has changed the way the employee will need to carry out their role so they hit the ground running.

Finding flexibility – returning employees will have to consider any caring, childcare, or travel arrangements before they return. Being open to flexible arrangements (altered start / finish times for example) will help to smooth the transition back into the business.

Listen to concerns – most will be happy to return, some might need extra reassurance. Explain clearly the steps you’ve taken to make the workplace safe and secure and make sure they have a copy of your safe return to work and / or coronavirus policy with the details (click here for a copy of ours).

Remember the rules – absent employees might want to be helpful by picking up work, but remind them that carrying out any work whilst still furloughed could jeopardise your ability to claim reimbursement under the Job Retention Scheme.

Get in touch if you need support in making your plans or managing a return to the workplace. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (17 February 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.

Getting ready for a return – flexible contracts

Posted on: February 11th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

If you’re planning to continue the trend away from traditional and carry on with the contemporary, don’t forget to check that your employment contracts will keep pace.

Place of work – clearly setting out the place of work remains important – the consequence of failing to do so means you may find yourself with expenses claims for travel to the office from home.

Mobility – setting out clearly the terms of any flexibility and the circumstances when it might be withdrawn should avoid dispute if the new approach doesn’t work well.

Variation – we’ve all experienced that it’s impossible to predict what the future holds – giving yourself a general right to amend terms will provide greater flexibility to react to any future uncertainty.

Get in touch if you’d like us to review your current contracts or support you with making changes moving forward.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (16 February 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.

Ending employees’ employment? Does furlough offer support?

Posted on: February 3rd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

When bringing an end to an employee’s employment you’re unlikely to be able to rely on furlough pay or support. Here’s our summary of HMRC’s position on termination payments and support under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS):

Notice pay – since December 2020 HMRC have confirmed that when an employee is serving notice, their notice pay will not be covered by the CJRS.

Payments in lieu of notice – if you end the employee’s employment with a lump sum notice payment then you are not entitled to recover that payment from the CJRS.

Statutory redundancy payments – it is clear that the CJRS cannot be used to fund statutory redundancy payments.

Ex gratia payments – payments that you’re choosing to make without any contractual requirement to do so, and that aren’t in return for work done, cannot be claimed through the CJRS.

Lump sum payment in lieu of holiday – if an employee has unused accrued holiday entitlement when their employment comes to an end, this cannot be claimed through the CJRS.

There are complicated rules around amounts which should be paid to employees on termination – always take advice. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (04 February 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.

Don’t be harassed by holidays!

Posted on: January 25th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Encouraging employees to take a break throughout the year remains a priority. Whether you’re at the start of your holiday year or haven’t got around to thinking it through, we’d suggest addressing annual leave early.

Sooner rather than later – communicate early how you’d like employees to approach their holiday throughout the year. It may well be the case that employees are saving holidays for a time when travel is possible and hospitality is open – addressing early how you expect your employees to manage their holiday is vital.

Reluctant holiday-makers – you have the right to require employees to take holidays (by giving them twice as much notice as the holiday you require them to take – or whatever is in their contract).

Holiday during furlough – although the flexible furlough scheme can’t be used solely to fund employee’s holidays, if the employee is already furloughed there is nothing wrong in ensuring employees are still taking holidays (and you can use the furlough scheme to fund them in part).

Buy-back – if you have a generous holiday scheme meaning it’s even more of a struggle for everyone to fit in their holidays, you could always offer to buy back holidays (provided that in doing so you don’t take the employee below statutory minimum holidays of 5.6 weeks).

Don’t forget that however busy you are as well as holidays giving employees the opportunity to recharge, they are a health and safety requirement under the Working Time Regulations, so regular holiday reminders are essential on lots of levels. Get in touch if you have any questions.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (25 January 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.

Part #2 – Vaccinations

Posted on: January 19th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Whilst insisting on colleagues’ vaccination may not be possible (as set out in yesterday’s update) you can, of course, encourage them to consider the vaccination.

With 41% of adults predicted to refuse the coronavirus vaccine, we consider the proactive steps you can take short of requiring colleagues to be vaccinated.

Lead by example – ask your leadership team to get vaccinated first and to share their experience with your colleagues.

Be clear on your purpose – sharing with your employees why getting the vaccine matters to your business is important. For example, if you’re in a sector that works with those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, explain the risks that failing to get vaccinated might have.

Care personally – if colleagues are telling you that they’re not willing to be vaccinated, ask managers to take the time to speak with them and find out why. By investing the time to care personally, you may be able to understand their concerns and reassure them.

Control the message – create your own fact-based communications to share internally and promote the benefits of the vaccine both on a personal and business level.

Our ‘safe return to work’ guidance note covers the associated legal risks of compulsory vaccinations in more detail, along with our suggestions on how to manage a range of associated employment challenges faced during the pandemic. Click here for more information.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (19 January 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.