Can employees take annual leave during a period of furlough?
Yes, however holiday pay during furlough must remain at the normal rate of pay and not the reduced furloughed rate. You can still claim for this period under the scheme but you will be responsible for any amounts beyond the maximum you can claim. Employers have flexibility to restrict when leave can be taken both during and after period of furlough in the normal way.
If an employee usually works bank holidays then the employer can agree that this is included in the grant payment. If the employee usually takes the bank holiday as leave then you would either have to top up their usual holiday pay, or give the employee a day of holiday in lieu.
- Be alert to the fact that guidance on treating Covid-19 may change with emerging knowledge/scientific data and this may require subsequent modifications to treatment.
- Critical care staff should support healthcare professionals who do not routinely work in critical care but need to do so.
An obvious cost cutting measure is to reduce salaries, either temporarily or permanently. If you are to seek a reduction in salaries, this should be done fairly – either across the board or by selecting teams/individuals based on objective business reasons.
Note that this cannot be imposed without significant risk. Without agreement, this would need fair selection and consultation.
It is almost impossible to completely guard against the risks associated with contractor insolvency, but there are some steps which can assist in mitigating and managing the risks involved. To be in the best possible position, it is worth considering the following at the outset of any project:
- Check the contractor’s financial position – particularly the specific company which will enter into the building contract, as the employer’s rights will be against this company rather than the business as a whole
- Take legal advice to ensure that the building contract is properly drafted with appropriate provisions to deal with an insolvency event
- Consider requiring a performance bond and/or parent company guarantee (each serve slightly different purposes)
- Obtain collateral warranties from the consultants and sub-contractors involved, so that there are contractual rights against other parties if the contractor is no longer able to meet claims
- Consider requiring retention bonds, advance payment bonds or vesting certificates if necessary
- Project bank accounts and escrow accounts can also provide some further assurances for the parties involved
Hosted by The North East England Chamber of Commerce, this webinar discussed practical advice on Covid-19 and the specific challenges for International Trade.
Partner Damien Charlton along with Andrew Needham,from Haines Watts and Grant Murray from XE Finance, provided an update on the challenges and potential solutions in their field, as well as a look forward for the “New Normal”.