What options do I have if I have staff with childcare responsibilities but their job cannot be done at home?
If it is not possible to find work for the employee to do at home, you do have the option of putting the employee on furlough.
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the SSP paid to current or former employees and will be available from 26 May 2020. See here.
The scheme covers all types of employment contracts and employers will be eligible to claim if they:
- Are claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
- Had a payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
- Had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020
The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:
- have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
- cannot work because they are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
- are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks
- have been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus
- they have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery
You can claim for periods of sickness starting on or after:
- 13 March 2020 – if your employee had coronavirus or the symptoms or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms; or
- 16 April 2020 – if your employee was shielding because of coronavirus.
- 28 May 2020 – if your employee has been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus
- 26 August 2020 – if your employee has been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery
Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:
- an isolation note from NHS 111 – if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus
- the NHS or GP letter telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
- the evidence from the NHS or public health body requiring them to self-isolate
You must keep the following records in relation to a claim you make under the scheme for three years:
- The reason for the employee’s absence
- Details of each period the employee could not work, including start and end dates
- Details of the SSP qualifying days when the employee could not work
- National insurance numbers for each employee you have paid SSP to
You’ll need to print or save your state aid declaration (from your claim summary) and keep this until 31 December 2024.
Office holders who provide services under an intermediary (such as a service company consultancy agreement) and whose services relate to the office held, would fall under the IR35 regime and must be assessed accordingly.
It is almost impossible to completely guard against the risks associated with contractor insolvency, but there are some steps which can assist in mitigating and managing the risks involved. To be in the best possible position, it is worth considering the following at the outset of any project:
- Check the contractor’s financial position – particularly the specific company which will enter into the building contract, as the employer’s rights will be against this company rather than the business as a whole
- Take legal advice to ensure that the building contract is properly drafted with appropriate provisions to deal with an insolvency event
- Consider requiring a performance bond and/or parent company guarantee (each serve slightly different purposes)
- Obtain collateral warranties from the consultants and sub-contractors involved, so that there are contractual rights against other parties if the contractor is no longer able to meet claims
- Consider requiring retention bonds, advance payment bonds or vesting certificates if necessary
- Project bank accounts and escrow accounts can also provide some further assurances for the parties involved
If your 30-day visa to travel to the UK (vignette) has expired or is about to, you can request a replacement free of charge until the end of 2020 by contacting the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. This can be granted with new and extended validity dates to allow travel once you are able to.
Once the collective process concludes, an employer can make the decision to proceed with the restructure. They will then have 1-on-1 meetings with employees about the impact of the restructure on them. This will include consideration of alternative employment. There is no need to consult further about the proposal, merely the effect of the restructure on the individual.