HR Update: Covid 19: Furlough, Job Support Scheme, Working from Home – 24th Sept 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.]

As Furloughs End – Next Step the ‘Job Support Scheme’

As I write this the Chancellor is just unveiling the next steps to support businesses, open to all SME’s not just those previously using the Furlough Scheme. The scheme is to enable short time working, with a view to reducing the potential spike in redundancies in Octboer.

Full details will be confirmed soon, but from November the aim is for Workers to get around 77% of their normal salaries for 6 months:

  • Employees will need to be working for at least a third of their normal hours
  • The government and the employer will then cover part of the salary that they have lost:
    • Government 1/3 up to a cap of £697.92
    • Employer further 1/3

I will provide a further update next week.

Back to Home Working

This week saw government guidelines urge those that can, to return to home working in a bid to reduce the spread of Coronavirus. It is important to re-consider those that are office based etc. and can work from home. The view is this may be for a few months so agreements need to be in place for the change of terms etc., and Risk Assessments completed or re-visited.

If you had a Home Working Agreement in place previously then check through for updates, and re-issue to all staff that will now be working from home. Discuss any issues that arose previously, or they see may occur and get these addressed. VDU checklists should also be reviewed for any changes going forward. Either way document that you have communicated with each staff member and whether any issues have been found or not.

Contact us if you need a Home Working Agreement and Checklist Template, or need a review:

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

Being ready – Do you have a plan?

As the number of cases start to rise again, Test and Trace continues to expand and with the new NHS Covid Contact App going live, the potential for disruption due to someone in your business having Coronavirus or being told to self-isolate also grows. So, what if that is a critical member of staff, or a large proportion of your workforce? Having a contingency plan in place will help to reduce the disruption and enable its employees to follow a defined process to manage the situation.

Contact us to discuss making plans if you don’t currently have anything in place:

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

Reporting an Outbreak

The Action Cards for reporting an outbreak have been updated to include more Workplaces. An outbreak of COVID-19 is one or more confirmed case depending on the business or organisation. As an organisation you need to report the outbreak to your local health protection team, and work with them to respond.

It is important to download this now to see what you need to do in advance of the potential situation arising, especially as numbers of cases are climbing again. It will also be worth revisiting these if you downloaded one before to check which now applies.

The Action Cards are quite broad in scope and cover:

  • Consumer workplace
  • Education
  • Food & drink
  • Industrial workplace
  • Institutions
  • Residential Workplace
  • Small & large gatherings
  • Travel

Action Cards can be downloaded at:

gov.uk: Reporting a Coronavirus Outbreak >>

Pointing staff to latest advice

It is important that the policies you are expecting staff to follow are clear, regularly updated, and that you inform them immediately of any changes. Above all make sure EVERYONE is aware, and that someone hasn’t been missed because of remote working, shifts or absence. Using technology to deliver this is good, but make sure everyone has access and knows how. Don’t assume and have someone not complying and being reprimanded unduly.

You can also point them at the latest government advice on how they can keep themselves and other safe, and what ‘today’s’ guidelines are that need to be followed:

gov.uk Publications: Reducing Transmission of Covid 19 >>

gov.uk Publications: Coronavirus Outbreak FAQs >>

Document, Document, Document

Keeping records for each staff member of what documents have been issued, and decisions taken, is critical to how we continue forward. As we have seen advice changes rapidly and regularly. So it is not just about keeping a record, but also reason why and the guidelines being followed at that point that it is important to note. There may come a time when we have to look back, and see why a decision was taken, or and agreement or terms changed. Having a spreadsheet or similar in place noting employees, dates, documents issued and reasons/guidelines followed, will be invaluable. You don’t want to be trawling emails and historic guidelines at that point.

Contact us if you have 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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