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We’re now part of the AdviserPlus Group

Posted on: March 31st, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

We’re delighted to share some exciting news – Halborns is now part of the AdviserPlus Group.

AdviserPlus is a leading provider of technology enabled specialist HR services and believe in enabling HR leaders to make a greater impact across their organisations by improving people and business performance.

We were looking for the ability to provide a greater range of people-related services, and a chance to invest in our continued innovation and we thought the AdviserPlus group was a great match. We’re still very much Halborns; still the same great team and have the same ambitions to proactively deliver solutions-focused advice, we’re now just part of an HR group with a greater range of services and support to offer you.

We look forward to you joining us on the next chapter of our journey.

About AdviserPlus

Founded in 2001 and employing over 250 HR professionals, they have significant experience and specialist expertise that brings a unique perspective to HR transformation. They help HR leaders turn people data into clear, meaningful insights; improve productivity, ER consistency, and people performance; and gain access to world-class people expertise, coaching and advice.

AdviserPlus has an extensive client base including Post Office, Sainsbury’s, Network Rail, United Utilities and the NHS. Find out more at adviserplus.com and follow them on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Key considerations before you send your ‘furlough letter’

Posted on: March 26th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

There’s a bit for you to consider before you send your first furlough letter.

For those employees with a contractual lay-off provision, consider…

  • Whether you still need to ask employees for their agreement to designate them a furloughed worker, or can you just write to them informing them of their new status.
  • Whether you understand fully a furloughed worker’s rights to ask for a redundancy payment after four weeks of furlough (only relevant to those employees with a lay-off provision within their contract).

For those employees without a contractual lay-off provision, consider…

  • Are you going to ask them to confirm their written agreement to the changes? If so, how do they do that?
  • Does their employment contract state how you need to effect the contractual change? In which case, are you going to be able to comply?
  • If employees don’t confirm their agreement to the change, how are you going to show they have impliedly accepted?
  • What are you going to give to the employee in return for changing their status to a furloughed worker (legally you need to give them something for the change to be enforceable)?
  • Are you clear on what the alternatives are to furloughed working for those employees who don’t accept the change?

Either way, consider…

  • If you are going to top up pay beyond the amount you’ll be reimbursed from the government, do you want to set out terms in respect of that top up?
  • Are you clear on what you’re going to pay each furloughed worker (80% pay, £2500, more, less) and what is included within that pay (pension contributions, employers national insurance)?
  • Do you need to split furloughed workers into categories (those that fall above and below the £2500 contribution from the government, for example) and treat them differently?
  • How are you going to deal with any benefits the employee is entitled to during furloughed work?
  • How can employees secure quick answers to their questions or object to the change?
  • Have you been clear to managers about the rules around furloughed working and what they should and shouldn’t be saying to their teams?
  • Are you clear on how you’re going to select some employees and not others for furloughed working?
  • How are you going to communicate with those employees who are absent?
  • Are you going to set out when you anticipate the furloughed leave will end?

There’s always more to say but this is a good starting point. Click here if you want us to give you a call.

Latest Prime Minister’s statement

Posted on: March 23rd, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Here’s what the Prime Minister had to say this evening:

  • From this evening we must all stay at home
  • All shops selling non-essential goods must close immediately
  • We can travel to and from work where absolutely necessary and where you cannot work from home
  • Police will have powers to issue fines or disburse gatherings
  • We may only shop for basic necessities as infrequently as possible and should use a delivery service where possible
  • We may only exercise once a day alone or with members of the same household
  • We must not meet friends, family or in groups of more than two (except people we live with)
  • We are able to deal with any medical needs, to provide care or help a vulnerable person

If we follow these rules, the government will review these restrictions and relax them if the evidence shows that they’re able to in three weeks.

Our coronavirus policy will be updated tomorrow.

Click here if you want our support in respect of the latest statement.


Part 2 – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Posted on: March 23rd, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

To access the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you’ll need to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of the wage cost of furloughed workers, up to a cap of £2500 per month.

This is a new and unprecedented situation, so to support you in managing and communicating this information to affected employees, we’ve created a number of documents and are providing specific advice to guide you through.

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme questions and answers – £250+VAT (click here to access)
  • Template letter informing affected employees of their new status as a furloughed worker – £250+VAT (click here to access)
  • 10% discount on our hourly fee rate for Intelligent Employment clients

More information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furloughed workers can be found here.

Fee transparency 

We’re committed to supporting you throughout these difficult times and where possible have delivered guidance, updates and advice free of charge. Given the unprecedented and developing situation, we’re working around the clock to continue to provide solutions and support, meaning it’s necessary for us to charge for the templates / advice set out above.

Extended credit terms 

To provide as much flexibility as possible for you, we’ve extended our usual credit terms for the Q&A document, template letter and related advice to 30 days. If payment is still a challenge, please let us know.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Posted on: March 23rd, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Here’s what the government have said…

  • Any employer is eligible to benefit from the coronavirus job retention scheme
  • Employers need to contact HMRC for the grant through their new online portal
  • The scheme covers furloughed employees who are kept on payroll rather than being laid off
  • You will need to notify your employees if they amount to a furloughed worker (bearing in mind existing employment law and their employment contract)
  • The government will pay 80% of monthly wages up to £2500 per employee
  • Employers can pay more if they want
  • The scheme will be open before the end of April and can be backdated to 1st March
  • The scheme is initially open for three months

Our thoughts…

  • We need to know from the government what classifies as a month’s wage so we can calculate 80%
  • Did the government really mean to say that laid off employees can’t benefit from the scheme? We think they meant employees made redundant can’t benefit from the scheme
  • To benefit from the scheme, employees need to be furloughed – what happens in respect of employees off sick, self-isolating or on holiday for part of the month?
  • How are you going to choose who you send home? If you’re discriminatory or your selection isn’t objective, at worst you’re at risk of claims of discrimination or constructive unfair dismissal, and at best you de-motivate some of your good performers
  • Don’t forget you still need to comply with employment law and the terms of an employee’s contract
  • If you ask for volunteers, what’s your approach to too many people volunteering?
  • If you’re going to top up pay, how are you going to do that for everyone – ask them to take holiday? I which case, do they still benefit from the scheme?
  • How are you going to deal with the situation before the government are able to make the payments – if you pay employees, will you be able to recover that money back from the government?