HR Update: Lockdown, Furlough and Business Grants – 5th Nov 2020

[Information edited from various sources including CIPD & Gov.uk E&EO. Please seek professional advice. Information is correct at the time of writing, and subject to change.]

With a National Lockdown starting 5th November, there are some things to consider and to get in place. Statements from the Government site are in Italic.

Going to work

To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home must do so.

This means a change to the contract for those not already working from home. It will also need a Risk Assessment to be undertaken. If one had been done previously, ensure it is re-checked for any changes needed.

Contact us for templates for Home Working Agreement and Risk Assessments:

Call 01843 260704 or email amanda@holgesconsulting.co.uk.

Where people cannot work from home (for instance people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing) they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting vital sectors and employers.

Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.

Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.

The Flexible Furlough scheme has been extended for November, further details below.

The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk

– i.e. those clinically vulnerable, or extremely clinically vulnerable. Consider who this applies to in your business, and ensure additional measures are taken as necessary.

Financial support

Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2500 a month.

The flexibility of the current CJRS will be retained to allow employees to continue to work where they can.

Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit are eligible and because more businesses will need to close, they will now be asked to pay just National Insurance and Pensions contributions for their staff during the month of November – making this more generous than support currently on offer.

The Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) means that if your employees are unable to work their full hours due to Coronavirus crisis, then the government scheme will enable employees to receive 80% of their current Salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2500. Employers will only be required to cover National Insurance and Pension Contributions. All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS. Employers should continue to pay the employee for hours worked in the normal way. Employers are still able to choose to top up employee wages above the scheme grant at their own expense if they wish.

Furlough Scheme Extended (Gov.uk news) >>

Contact us for Furlough Agreement templates:

Call 01843 260704 or email amanda@holgesconsulting.co.uk.

In addition, business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Also, £1.1bn is being given to Local Authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly.

Business Grants

Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

Furlough Scheme Extended (Gov.uk news) >>

Mortgage Holidays

Mortgage payment holidays will no longer end today. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.

Contact us if you have any questions or concerns, or need documents:

Call 01843 260704 or email amanda@holgesconsulting.co.uk.

[Information edited from various sources including CIPD & Gov.uk E&EO. Please seek professional advice. Information is correct at the time of writing, and subject to change.]

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