From Furlough to Redundancy

Furlough and redundancy pay - McCabe and Co SolicitorsNew laws came into force on 31st July 2020 to protect the rights of employees who were furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Throughout the pandemic, the government has urged businesses to do right by their employees.  The majority of businesses have done so, however, there are a minority who have not.

The new laws ensure that furloughed employees who are then made redundant will receive redundancy pay based on their normal wage, rather than a reduced furlough rate

The new laws also apply to statutory notice pay and other entitlements, providing some reassurance during this difficult time.  During this notice period, employees must be paid and notice pay is based on normal wages, rather than their wages under the CJRS.

Employees with more than 2 years’ continuous service who are made redundant are usually entitled to a statutory redundancy payment that is based on length of service, age and pay, up to a statutory maximum. 

FURLOUGH – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Changes

FurloughThe Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will close on 31 October 2020.

From 1 August 2020, the level of grant will be reduced each month

The table below shows Government contribution, required employer contribution and amount employee receives where the employee is furloughed 100% of the time.

Wage caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

  July August September October
Government contribution: employer NICs and pension contributions Yes No No No
Government contribution: wages 80% up to £2,500 80% up to £2,500 70% up to £2,187.50 60% up to £1,875
Employer contribution: employer NICs and pension contributions No Yes Yes Yes
Employer contribution: wages 10% up to £312.50 20% up to £625
Employee receives 80% up to £2,500 per month 80% up to £2,500 per month 80% up to £2,500 per month 80% up to £2,500 per month

More information can be found here

Spring Newsletter 2020

Newsletter Spring 2020

Our Spring Newsletter 2020 should have arrived with you by post – if it hasn’t please let us know by emailing us here, or download it by clicking here:

Newsletter Spring 2020

This issue includes articles on National Insurance Contributions, Tax and Benefit changes; Free Payroll Software; Audit or Independent Examination of Accounts; Workplace Pensions; Lost Pensions

Covid-19 Five Steps to Safer Working Together

Staying COVIC-19 Secure in 2020.jpgThe government has published guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace as people begin to return to work, using these 5 key points.  This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

1. Work from home, if you can

All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, our message is clear: you should go to work. Staff should speak to their employer about when their workplace will open.

2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions

This guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation and employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and we expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so.

3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible

Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.

4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk

Employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in 5contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.

5. Reinforcing cleaning processes

Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.

A downloadable notice is included in the documents, which employers should display in their workplaces to show their employees, customers and other visitors to their workplace, that they have followed this guidance

You can find and download the notice here

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Good Practice Steps for Employers

Blog image of Acas logoACAS has provided some good practice steps for employers

Employers should consider some simple steps to make sure they continue to provide their staff and customers with a ‘duty of care’.   This means they must do all they reasonably can to support their health, safety and wellbeing.

It’s good practice for employers to:

  • make sure everyone is social distancing if they come into the workplace
  • be especially careful and take extra steps for vulnerable groups, including those who are pregnant, aged 70 or over, or who have a long-term health condition
  • hold meetings as remote calls and avoid travel as much as possible
  • make sure managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace shows symptoms of the virus
  • make sure there are clean places to wash hands with hot water and soap, and encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly
  • provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff, and encourage them to use them
  • make sure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date
  • keep everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace
  • keep up to date with the latest government advice – see coronavirus advice on GOV.UK

Who Are Essential Workers Who Can Be Tested for Coronavirus?

On the front lines of developing a test for the coronavirusAmong the Government’s list of those who can be tested are Essential Workers with symptoms, but who are these Essential Workers?

Here is the full list for England – please note that Payment Providers are included in the list

List of essential workers and those prioritised for testing (England only)

  • all NHS and social care staff, including:
    • doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers
    • the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector
    • those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines, and medical and personal protective equipment
    • NHS Blood and Transplant frontline staff (blood donation staff, specialist nurses for organ donation, staff running therapeutic apheresis services in NHS hospitals)
    • those providing ancillary support to NHS workers (such as hotel accommodation for NHS staff)
  • essential public services staff, including:
    • prisons, probation, courts and tribunals staff, judiciary
    • religious staff
    • charities and workers delivering critical frontline services
    • those responsible for the management of the deceased
    • journalists and broadcasters covering coronavirus or providing public service broadcasting
    • public health and environmental staff, such as specialist community public health nursing
  • public safety and national security staff, including:
    • police and support staff
    • Ministry of Defence civilians, contractors and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of critical defence and national security outputs and critical to the response to the coronavirus pandemic), including defence medical staff
    • fire and rescue service employees (including support staff),
    • National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas
    • British Transport Police and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
  • transport workers, including:
    • those who keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus response
    • those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass
  • education and childcare workers, including:
    • support and teaching staff
    • social workers
    • specialist education professionals
  • critical personnel in the production and distribution of food, drink and essential goods, including:
    • those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery
    • those critical to the provision of other essential goods, such as medical supply chain and distribution workers, including community pharmacy and testing (such as PHE labs), and veterinary medicine
    • workers critical to the continuity of essential movement of goods
  • local and national government staff critical to the effective delivery of the coronavirus response, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits
  • public and environmental health staff, including in government agencies and arm’s length bodies
  • funeral industry workers
  • frontline local authority staff and volunteers, including
    • those working with vulnerable children and adults, victims of domestic abuse, and the homeless and rough sleepers (and hotel staff supporting these groups)
    • voluntary sector organisations providing substance misuse treatment
  • utilities, communication and financial services staff, including:
    • staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
    • the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
    • information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the coronavirus response
    • essential staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 essential services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors

ACAS Advice on Lay-offs, Short-time Working and Using Holidays

Lay-offs and short-time working

In some situations, an employer might need to close down their business for a short time, or ask staff to reduce their contracted hours.

If the employer thinks they’ll need to do this, it’s important to talk with staff as early as possible and throughout the closure.

Unless it says in the contract or is agreed otherwise, they still need to pay their employees for this time.

Employees who are laid off and are not entitled to their usual pay might be entitled to a ‘statutory guarantee payment’ of up to £30 a day from their employer.

This is limited to a maximum of 5 days in any period of 3 months. On days when a guarantee payment is not payable, employees might be able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance from Jobcentre Plus.

Find out more about:

Using holiday for a temporary workplace closure

Employers have the right to tell employees and workers when to take holiday if they need to.  An employer could, for example, shut for a week and tell everyone to use their holiday entitlement.

Find out more about using holiday.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: an update from HMRC | Cambridge ...Claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

If you’ve had to dismiss staff because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you might be able to re-employ them and pay their wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Who can claim

You must have:

  • created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020
  • enrolled for PAYE online – this can take up to 10 days
  • a UK bank account

Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.

For more information on Apprentices, click here

Employees you can claim for

You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 28 February 2020.

To claim, you will need:

  • your ePAYE reference number
  • the number of employees being furloughed
  • the claim period (start and end date)
  • amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 consecutive weeks)
  • your bank account number and sort code
  • your contact name
  • your phone number

You will need to calculate the amount you are claiming. HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim.

If you made employees redundant or they stopped working for you after 28 February

If you made employees redundant, or they stopped working for you on or after 28 February 2020, you can re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the scheme.

If your employee is on maternity leave, adoption leave, paternity leave or shared parental leave

The normal rules for maternity and other forms of parental leave and pay apply.

You can claim through the scheme for enhanced (earnings related) contractual pay for employees who qualify for either:

  • maternity pay
  • adoption pay
  • paternity pay
  • shared parental pay

Some of the rules are quite complicated, so more information can be found here 

Dismissing staff

Dismissal is when you end an employee’s contract. When dismissing staff, you must do it fairly.

There are different types of dismissal:

  • fair dismissal
  • unfair dismissal
  • constructive dismissal
  • wrongful dismissal

Fair and unfair dismissal

A dismissal is fair or unfair depending on:

  • your reason for it
  • how you act during the dismissal process

Constructive dismissal

This is when an employee resigns because you’ve breached their employment contract. This could be a single serious event or a series of less serious events.

An employee could claim constructive dismissal if you:

  • cut their wages without agreement
  • unlawfully demote them
  • allow them to be harassed, bullied or discriminated against
  • unfairly increase their workload
  • change the location of their workplace at short notice
  • make them work in dangerous conditions

A constructive dismissal is not necessarily unfair – but it would be difficult for you to show that a breach of contract was fair.

A constructive dismissal might lead to a claim for wrongful dismissal.

Wrongful dismissal

This is where you break the terms of an employee’s contract in the dismissal process, for example dismissing someone without giving them proper notice.

Wrongful dismissal is not the same as unfair dismissal.

If an employee thinks you’ve dismissed them unfairly, constructively or wrongfully, they might take you to an employment tribunal.

More details can be found here

COVID-19 Support for Self-Employed

Chancellor announces additional measures to help businesses and the self-employed impacted by COVID-19

The Chancellor announced a major package of support for the self-employed:

  • HMG will pay the self-employed a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years up to £2500 per month
  • This will be available for three months. Will be extended if necessary
  • People can claim these grants and continue to do business
  • Covers self-employed same as those furloughed

To ensure the funds reaches the people most in need:

  • Open to anyone of trading profits of up to £50,000
  • Available to people who i) make the majority of their income being self-employed, ii) Have a self-employed tax return for 2019

How to access

  • HMRC will contact you directly and you’ll have to fill out a form
  • HMRC will pay the grant directly to bank accounts.
  • Aim is to pay at the beginning of June (3 months backdated). Hoping to be quicker than that but recognition HMRC are now having to design two new systems
  • Anyone who missed the Jan filing deadline has an extra 4 weeks from today to submit their tax return

Further Details can be found at – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-gives-support-to-millions-of-self-employed-individuals