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Can NHS or local authority workers be furloughed?

It is envisaged that employees of organisations falling into the first two categories set out above and won’t be eligible for the job retention scheme in relation to the majority of their employees. It is envisaged that NHS Trusts for example are going to require their staff to be working at full capacity where possible. However, the guidance doesn’t definitely exclude public sector organisations from furloughing employees and notably the government expects such organisations to use public money to continue to pay staff and not furlough them, rather than say requires. In reality, it is difficult to see how such an organisation will be able to rely on the scheme, but the guidance doesn’t completely rule it out.

Related FAQs

What is the guidance for doctors working during the pandemic?

The General Medical Council (GMC) have published guidance online for doctors during this time of uncertainty.

 

Alongside this, their website displays guidance for temporary registration to approximately 15,000 doctors, who left the register or gave up their licence to practise in the last three years.

 

These clinicians have been contacted to assist with the growing pandemic, outlining the process they would follow and informing them of their right to opt-out. The Secretary of State for Health can ask the GMC to grant such registration under Section 18a of the Medical Act 1983, in an emergency.

VIDEO: Market outlooks – the before, during and after

At 10am on the 21st July, we hosted the fourth of our “in conversation…” webinars, this time featuring the ninth largest private bank in the world, Swiss-based Julius Baer. Ward Hadaway partner Emma Digby once again lead the conversation, this time with Luke Downes and Darren Hirst from their investment and relationship teams on “Market outlooks – the before, during and after”. They were joined by Andrew Evans from our private client team to feed in his perspective. This will be of interest to individuals who are thinking about investment portfolios and pension pots, but also businesses keen to see how investors are viewing their sectors, markets and customers.

Luke and Darren took us through how the markets looked pre-Covid, how they responded to the pandemic, and obviously most importantly what we might expect going forwards. They took a look at the sectors that are seeing the quickest bounce-back, discuss which countries are likely to be the most attractive for investors, and where the long term financial gains are expected to be. They also touched on that imminent event, shrouded in mist recently but no less significant – Brexit! What is the expected effect on the markets, and who are likely to be the winners and the losers?

Whilst my creditors have been very understanding so far, I am concerned about how I will pay my existing debts, the ongoing bills as well as finding the money I will need to get the business back on its feet. What should I do?

This is a concern for many businesses at the moment.

Firstly, the directors need to be mindful of their duties to creditors . Click here for further information on those duties and the measures introduced by the government to help support directors during these difficult times.

There is also a raft of funding and grants as well as commercial finance that might be available to you. Click here for further information or contact us if you would like to discuss further.

If you are coming under increasing creditor pressure, there are other options to explore like the new “moratorium” procedure, which allows viable businesses in financial difficulty to work with an insolvency practitioner to obtain at least 20 business days’ breathing space from creditors to allow the business to formulate a plan to deal with its financial problems.

If you have any concerns about the viability of your business you should speak to your advisors, whether that is your lawyers, accountants or an insolvency practitioner who should be able to help you.

What is the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

All employers in the UK are eligible to participate in the scheme. The purpose of the scheme is to allow employers to claim back employment costs if they have furloughed employees arising from the coronavirus crisis. Importantly this means the scheme is not limited to cases where the employee would otherwise have been made redundant.

Key points:

  • Between 1 November 2020 – 30 June 2021, the government will reimburse employers for 80% of wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, with employers expected to contribute 10% of that 80% in July 2021 and 20% of that 80% in August and September 2021. Employers will still need to pay employer NICs and employer pension contributions (these cannot be claimed for).
  • The scheme now also allows employees to return to work part time being on furlough for the remainder. See flexible furlough above for more information.
  • The employer can agree to pay the employee more than it will be reimbursed but it cannot reclaim the additional amount or any other costs associated with the additional amount.
  • The workers covered by the scheme are those who have been “furloughed” which is a leave of absence.
  • Workers must be told about and agree to this change of status (see below).
  • Employers have to continue to pay the furloughed workers and the Government will reimburse the employer.
  • HMRC is administering the scheme and it has been extended until the end of September 2021
  • Those who left employment and are re-employed and subsequently furloughed by agreement are eligible (please see the FAQ regarding redundancy and furlough above).
  • Payments may be withheld if claims are based on inaccurate or dishonest information, or are found to be fraudulent. HMRC has put in place an online hotline for employees and the general public to report suspected fraudulent claims.
  • The Government has made alternative help available for employers to continue to pay employees while the scheme is set up.
How do I avoid disputes and approach extensions of time and claims for additional payment with my Employer or Supplier?

The Construction Leadership Council (with backing from the Government) has issued practical guidance and draft pro-forma documents to enable all parties involved in the construction supply chain to enter into collaborative and open dialogue about applications for extensions of time and additional payment and to minimise potential disputes. The guidance can we downloaded here

The draft letters and notices included in the guidance have been prepared on the basis of the standard JCT Design and Build 2016 and NEC 3/4 Engineering and Construction Contract (Option A) and parties will need to make sure that they are completed/adjusted to comply with their own specific contracts.

The Cabinet Office has also issued a general statement calling on parties to contracts adversely affected by C-19 to act responsibly and fairly and to support national efforts to protect jobs and the economy.