What was included in the Government’s self-employment income support scheme?
- A taxable grant worth 80% of the average monthly profit over the last three years (one or two years will be reviewed for those who do not have three years of tax returns)
- The grant will be capped at £2,500 per month
- The scheme was initially available for three months and has been extended as necessary
- Individuals claiming a grant can continue to do business (unlike employees who must not work when furloughed)
In appropriate cases, disciplinary action and then dismissal may be fair if an employee refuses to wear a face covering in the workplace. For example, if this is in breach of the government guidance or if employer has issued a reasonable management instruction to this effect due to an identified health and safety risk.
It is important that employers use a fair and reasonable procedure when deciding whether to discipline and/or dismiss an employee and that its actions does not unlawfully discriminate against employees who have legitimate reasons for not wearing masks, such as those individuals who have health conditions like asthma.
The Flexible Furlough Scheme was introduced from 1 July 2020 and is due to come to an end on 30 September 2021.
The fee payer that pays the fee to the contractor’s PSC for the services (end user client or agency) will be responsible for operating PAYE and deducting NIC’s. The fee payer must also pay employer NIC’s and where applicable the apprenticeship levy so there will be additional costs involved in the event of a change to employed status for tax purposes.
If the assessment concludes that the contractor is self-employed, the PSC can continue to be paid gross.
The Government has announced a £750 million funding package for charities to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak. This is for a 3 month period and further specific funding may be made available.
Charities which are businesses can also access the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) – Please see our Funding and Finance FAQ’s.
In most circumstances the answer will be no. It would be an infringement of their human rights. It could also be a criminal assault.
However where there is a high risk to employees of exposure to COVID-19, such as care homes and healthcare environments, you might be able to make it a requirement of their role to have the vaccine.
First, consider whether you need to have a blanket requirement covering all employees or whether only certain groups who work in the most high risk areas require the vaccine.
You will need to do a thorough risk assessment balancing the amount that the risk of exposure would be reduced against the interference with the employee’s human rights. Consideration will need to be given as to whether insisting on the vaccine is proportionate to the risk and whether other less invasive steps could be taken instead, such as maintaining social distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands.
Any requirement for employees to be vaccinated should be communicated clearly to employees and trade unions together with a clear explanation for why it is necessary.