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People & Employment – The Furlough scheme

At Ward Hadaway we want to play our part by helping UK businesses, organisations and people successfully navigate the current disrupted environment and get us all back to business. To do that we have developed a series of FAQs where we try to provide clear answers to commonly asked questions.

Furlough

What will be the added cost to business of furloughing staff from 1 July 2021?

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.

 

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

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.

How does holiday work during furlough?

What are the standard holiday rules?

Under usual rules, workers are entitled to a minimum of 28 days holiday including bank holidays, each year. Except in limited circumstances, it cannot be carried between leave years meaning that workers lose their holiday if they do not take it.

The government passed emergency legislation relaxing the carry-over of the 20 days leave entitlement provided under EU law. Where it is not reasonably practicable for an employee to take leave in the relevant leave year as a result of the effects of the coronavirus then they could be entitled to carry over the untaken leave into the next year.

Who decides on carrying-over holiday entitlement?

The Regulations do not require any prior agreement between an employer and employee that it was not reasonably practicable for holiday to be taken for it to be carried over.

However, if an employee requests holiday then an employer must have ‘good reason’ for refusing it due to coronavirus. The term ‘good reason’ is not defined so the Government will expect employers, employees and (if necessary on any dispute) the Courts to apply common sense.

The Regulations are not confined to key workers so could, in principle, be used by employers for a wider range of employees.

The Government guidance suggests that the following factors should be taken into account when considering whether it was reasonably practicable to take the leave in the relevant year:

  • Whether the business has faced a significant increase in demand due to COVID-19 that would reasonably require the worker to continue to be at work and cannot be met through alternative practical measures.
  • The extent to which the business’ workforce is disrupted by COVID-19 and the practical options available to the business to provide temporary cover of essential activities.
  • The health of the worker and how soon they need to take a period of rest and relaxation.
  • The length of time remaining in the worker’s leave year.
  • The extent to which the worker taking leave would impact on wider society’s response to, and recovery from, the effects of COVID-19.
  • The ability of the remainder of the available workforce to provide cover for the worker going on leave.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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