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Archive

Keeping you in our focus with proactive, straight-talking insights to support your practical people management during the coronavirus pandemic.

Furlough extension – further guidance released

Posted on: November 11th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

The government published further guidance last night for the extension to the furlough scheme.

Here are the headlines…

Eligibility

  1. From 1 November, you can claim for any employees who were employed on 30th October 2020 provided that you have made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20th March and 30th October 2020 in respect of that employee.

Agreement

  1. Agreement to furlough must be confirmed in writing;
  2. If you’ve furloughed any employees under the extension without providing written notice, you have until this Friday (13th November) to write to those employees in order to claim for any period of furlough between 1st and 13th November;
  3. If an employee is furloughed full-time and then moved to a flexible furlough arrangement, you must provide a new written agreement.

Flexible furlough

  1. You can furlough employees for any period of time, but the period that you claim for must be a minimum of seven consecutive calendar days;
  2. Employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once.

Public information

  1. HMRC will publish names of employers who have made claims under the scheme from December 2020.

The government will review the scheme in January 2021. It is not clear whether employers will be required to contribute more at that point. The two most important guidance updates are:

  1. Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the CJRS; and
  2. Claim for wages through the CJRS.

If you’ve already accessed our template furlough letters and comprehensive furlough FAQs, we’ll issue updated versions to you in light of the latest guidance. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about accessing these documents.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (11 November 2020), 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 extension and rehiring previous employees?

Posted on: November 6th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Last-minute lockdowns and furlough U-turns make doing the best and right thing during the pandemic even more challenging.

  1. If employees were made redundant or stopped working for you in anticipation of the furlough scheme coming to an end, the government has confirmed you’re able to rehire and place them on furlough.
  2. This is provided they were on your payroll and HMRC had received an RTI submission in respect of the employee from 20 March 2020 to 23 September 2020.
  3. If an employee was on a fixed term contract that expired after 23 September 2020, they can also be rehired and claimed for provided they were on payroll on 23 September 2020 (and meet usual eligibility criteria).

We’d suggest you always take advice before re-hiring as there are wider employment law considerations to take into account. Click here to get in touch.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (06 November 2020), 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.

Further furlough extension and changes to CJRS bonus

Posted on: November 5th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has just announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until 31 March 2021:

  1. The government will continue to cover 80% of wages for hours not worked (up to a £2,500 cap);
  2. Employers do not need to have used the CJRS previously and will only be required to cover NI and pension contributions (subject to certain exceptions);
  3. You need to confirm furlough arrangements in writing to employees in order to be eligible to claim – if you’ve already furloughed employees without writing to them, you have until 13 November to write to employees in order to claim for any period of furlough between 01 and 13 November;
  4. The support will cover England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
  5. The Job Retention Bonus will not apply as anticipated and a further incentive will be redeployed at a later date;
  6. The government will review whether to ask employers to contribute more in January 2021.

Full details and guidance will be published on 10 November 2020 – here is what has been announced so far. If you’ve not already accessed our template furlough letter, click there for more information.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (05 November 2020), 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.

Does your business need to close?

Posted on: November 5th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Yesterday evening the government provided the list of businesses required to close from today (until 02 December).

If your business is required to close – you will need to close from today up until 02 December. If your employees are unable to work from home and you require them to attend work, you could face fines of up to £10,000.

If your business is not required to close – you must require your employees to work from home if they can do so effectively. ‘Effectiveness’ is not defined in the guidance. Our view is that a written assessment noting issues such as employees’ well-being, their ability to travel to work, your ability to keep them safe at work, and the commercial impact of them working from home would be prudent.

If you’ve not already accessed our template letter to place employees on furlough, get in touch to find out more.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (05 November 2020), 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 extension – do you need to delay redundancies?

Posted on: November 4th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

If you have just made, or were about to make redundancies in anticipation of the closure of the furlough scheme, here’s what you need to consider in light of the government’s furlough extension.

Affordability – you’ll still need to pay PAYE and NI contributions under the furlough extension and make even greater contributions if you utilise the Job Support Scheme. Even if employees’ roles are immediately affordable during extended furlough, you are unlikely to be criticised by an employment tribunal if in continuing with their employment you were simply delaying the inevitable.

More than cost considerations – the decision to make redundancies doesn’t need to be based on the affordability of a particular role. If you’re making redundancies due to changing demands in the business for example, the extended government support may be of little relevance.

Furlough support is designed to avoid redundancies – some businesses consider it contrary to their corporate values to use further government support in respect of employees’ roles which are obviously redundant.

Showing you’ve considered alternatives – as part of a fair process, you’ll need to show you have considered all alternatives to avoid the redundancies, not just utilising furlough and the JSS. Have you considered unpaid leave, holidays, the impact of the CJRS bonus? Failure to show there has been full consideration of alternatives which could avoid redundancies will make any subsequent dismissals unfair.

Each situation needs to be judged on its own facts, so if you’re unsure as to whether redundancies should be delayed in light of the furlough extension, get in touch to speak to our expert employment lawyers.

If you need wider support with a potential redundancy process, here’s more detail on the packages we have available to ensure a robust and lawful process.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (04 November 2020), 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.