Introduction – How am I going to get people back into the workplace?
As we move to look at re-opening businesses and getting people back into the workplace there is work to be done by employers, firstly in planning how they are going to do this, and secondly, communicating those plans to staff. The only way in which businesses are going to be able to manage the transition back to some form of normality is by speaking to their staff and re-assuring them about the measures that will be put in place to safeguard their health and safety in order to enable them to return. Any successful return to work will need to based on carefully thought out plans and providing re-assurances to employees that necessary action is being taken.
Employers will be focusing on:
- How do I get my workforce back safely, and
- How do I give my workforce the confidence to return.
CMA guidance suggests that it will not take enforcement action in respect of agreements which:
- Are appropriate and necessary to avoid a shortage, or ensure security, of supply
- Are clearly in the public interest
- Contribute to the benefit or wellbeing of consumers
- Deal with critical issues that arise as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic
- Last no longer than is necessary to deal with these critical issues
For those with variable pay, if the employee has been employed for a full 12 months before the period claimed for you, can take the higher of:
- The same month’s earnings in the previous year; or
- Average monthly earnings from the 2019/20 tax year.
For those who have been employed for less than one year you can use the average of their monthly earnings since they began their employment until the date they were furloughed.
If they have been employed for less than a month, work out a pro rata for their earnings so far, and claim for 80%.
Similar to the position for claims between 1 August 2020 and 31 October 2020, for claims between 1 July 2021 and 30 September 2021 there will be a cost to businesses of furloughing staff, which will gradually increase until the scheme closes at the end of September as follows.
- From 1 July 2021 employers will be required to contribute 10% of wages, with the Government contributing 70%.
- From 1 August 2021, the employer contribution increases to 20% and the Government will contribute 60%.
- 30 September 2021: scheme closes.
Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current wages, up to £2,500 a month.
£370 million will be available to support small and medium-sized charities who are at the heart of local communities and which are making a big difference during the outbreak, including those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice. These monies will be distributed by organisations including the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England. It is understood these monies will need to be applied for. The application system for the National Lottery Community Fund grant pot is expected to be operational within a period of weeks.
Employees who are union or non-union representatives may undertake duties and activities for the purpose of individual or collective representation of employees or other workers. However in doing this, they must not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation or a linked or associated organisation.
Employees who are pension scheme trustees or trustee directors of a corporate trustee may also undertake trustee duties in relation to the pension scheme. However, a professional, independent pension scheme trustee who has been furloughed by the independent trustee company cannot undertake trustee work that would provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of, the independent trustee company or any organisation linked or associated with that independent trustee company during hours when they are recorded as being on furlough.