Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme & Sick Pay Relief
In an unprecedented measure not previously seen in our nation’s peacetime history, the Chancellor has unveiled a huge employment protection plan for those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
With the advent of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the government has pledged to cover up to 80% of the salaries of employees, up to £2,500 per month, who are not working due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The employer may choose to top up the salary with the remaining 20% but there is no obligation for them to do so.
The employer is required to gain the consent of employees to enter into this scheme and must be mindful of attendant employment law matters.
The government have confirmed that all business types are eligible, including both profit-making and non-profit making organisations.
The scheme is designed to help those employees who are not working due to the coronavirus outbreak and hence are classed as ‘furloughed’ and thus are not working during the outbreak.
The aim of this intervention is to prevent such staff, unable to work during this situation, from being laid off and made redundant.
Initially, this scheme applies for up to three months. It is possible to bring back any staff that have been laid off if these employees are brought back into the workforce.
It is also possible to rotate staff or indeed to vary staff, bringing them into and out of the scheme, as business needs dictate, and employees may be flexible in terms of furlough, so that they can mix work/ furlough.
The application system is up and running and we can assist clients with such submissions.
The scheme includes company directors and those on zero hour contracts and variable hours, with a set procedure for determining the level of pay to be as fair as possible.
In terms of directors, this means that 80% of the director’s salary will be funded by HMRC for directors put onto the scheme, up to £2,500 per year. Please note this does not include dividends.
Regarding variable and zero hour employees, those who have been employed for over a year, the salary will simply be a monthly average of their earnings for the past 12 months OR the same month’s earnings from the previous year, IF this is higher.
At the current rate and format, the scheme will be in operation and open to use by eligible employers until 31 March 2020.
If the employee has only been with the employer for a shorter time period, an average of the earnings so far this tax year will be calculated.
For those joining an employer since the scheme was launched, a pro rata average will be calculated. Such employees must have been with the employer before 30 October 2020 in order to qualify.
Statutory Sickness Leave and Pay
The government have also agreed to provide Statutory Sick Pay relief for all employees who are self-isolating – for either seven or 14 days – due to coronavirus symptoms, either manifest in themselves or their family with whom they live.
The sickness pay will be paid to employees for the entire period, removing the usual three waiting day routine, and there is no need to provide a medical ‘fit note’ in order to qualify for this leave.
If employees are advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks, as those who are venerable are being counselled to do by their doctor, statutory sickness pay would be made available for the full period. The employer, as described above, would be able to reclaim the first two weeks of this relief.
It is important to note that this guidance only applies to those who cannot work form home or of course are too ill to work. An employee who works from home should be entitled to be paid their wages.
The government is establishing a scheme through which these statutory sickness payments may be reclaimed.
Ask Us For Help
We are here to help and have set up a dedicated team to help you during this crisis.
If you are considering taking advantage of any of the above measures, please email email@example.com and we will contact you to discuss your exact situation.