Were any measures sector specific?
All of the measures announced above are aimed at all employers in the UK and are not sector specific. However, over and above these measures the Chancellor also announced a number of financial measures that he hopes will save jobs in the hospitality industry such as the reduction of VAT on food and drink and the “eat out to help out” scheme which has already taken place. The Job Support Scheme is designed to support businesses who face lower demand due to the pandemic, and so is designed to have an impact on those sectors most badly hit.
On 6 April 2020 the Government published further guidance to clarify the position with apprentices during the Covid-19 outbreak. The full guidance is available from here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-apprentices-employers-training-providers-end-point-assessment-organisations-and-external-quality-assurance-pro
The guidance includes details of the measures implemented by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) in order to provide flexibility in delivering apprenticeships in current circumstances. This includes breaks in learnings, delayed end point assessments and alternative arrangements for end point assessments. These measures apply immediately and until further notice.
There are a number of FAQs within the Government guidance which deal with common queries. The guidance contains some technical provisions and we recommend that you take advice if you are furloughing or making apprentices redundant. If you have any additional queries on the practicalities of implementing the ESFA measures please get in touch.
Further guidance changes to apprenticeships due to coronavirus can be found here.
The guidance gives numerous examples of the types of performance adjustment which parties should consider. For example this includes:
- Varying deadlines (e.g. for performance or payment)
- Varying compensation (e.g. to recognise increased costs)
- Varying the nature of performance (e.g. allowing substitute goods, allowing pert delivery of services)
The guidance also encourages a reasonable approach to enforcement, which might encourage delaying issuing formal proceedings, increased use of mediation or providing more information to the other party than would be volunteered under normal circumstances.
Employees with visas should be treated consistently with the wider workforce. When their furlough leave ends, they should return to work and their pay should be reinstated. If you agree a pay cut or reduction in working hours, you need to ensure that sponsored workers are still earning above the minimum salary for their role and working in excess of the minimum number of hours (see above).
The flexible furlough scheme is now in place and can be used for employees who have previously been furloughed for a consecutive period of at least three weeks. The flexible furlough scheme remains in place until 31 October 2020.
Employers had the ability to furlough extremely vulnerable employees who needed to shield.
If your employee is on sick leave or self-isolating as a result of Coronavirus, including as a result of track and trace, they’ll be able to get Statutory Sick Pay, subject to other eligibility conditions applying.
There is no special exemption for them, so they would need to meet the usual requirements to be placed on Flexible Furlough after 1 July 2020. i.e. They had to have been placed on furlough for at least 3 weeks before 1 July. Otherwise, they could not be furloughed.
You must only make a report under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) when:
- An unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence
- A worker has been diagnosed as having COVID 19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease
- A worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.