How does salary sacrifice affect the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
- Employee pensions contributions are often paid by way of salary sacrifice arrangements.
- Use of such arrangements may reduce the amount of wage an employer can claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as the reimbursement is calculated by reference to an employee’s actual pay as at 28 February 2020, hence post sacrifice pay.
- Using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme does not in itself bring a salary sacrifice arrangement to an end, but where an employer wishes to maximise the amount of an employee’s pay that will be covered by the CJRS, the employer and employee(s) concerned may agree to terminate the salary sacrifice arrangement as part of furlough. HMRC has recently announced that the Covid-19 pandemic will be considered a “life event” (i.e. one of the permitted reasons to break a salary sacrifice arrangement mid-term), if the employment contract is updated accordingly.
Yes, they can continue to undertake duties or activities for representative purposes. This includes individual or collective representation of their colleagues. They must not carry out any actual work or generate revenue for their employer or a linked or associated organisation.
Yes, but be reasonable and sensitive to avoid any claims of associative or indirect discrimination.
The majority of hearings are taking place by video or phone.
Court guidance has been issued on telephone and video hearings during the coronavirus outbreak:
Where a Judge orders “teleconferencing”, it will take place using BTMeetMe, or video conferencing using Skype for Business or Cloud Video Platform.
All hearings are subject to the relevant jurisdictional rules and practice directions and usual court etiquette, including wearing appropriate attire and not eating or drinking during a hearing.
Electronic bundles of documents and authorities (if required) need to be prepared, indexed and paginated and sent to the Court well in advance of any hearing.
The guidance is non-statutory and is not binding on business. However, businesses should be aware that there might be reputational consequences if they do not follow the guidance; we have already seen in the context of taking advantage of furlough funding that not being in breach of the law is no protection against negative publicity. Further to the extent a contract expressly requires parties to act reasonably, it could be expected that this guidance is one of the factors a court would consider in determining what is reasonable.
To qualify for a grant under the scheme you must pay your furloughed staff the wages you are claiming for. Failure to do so may result in a HMRC investigation and/or claims from furloughed staff for unlawful deductions from wages and possibly constructive dismissal claims.
Normal benefits including non-monetary benefits should continue during furlough unless the individual has agreed in writing to reduce or remove a benefit during this time.
Employers are expected to apply for one or more of the financial support schemes available to be able to continue to pay staff.