The Prime Minister announced on Saturday that from Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December, we must reduce our day-to-day contact with other people and new measures have been introduced. Until then the relevant Local Covid Alert Levels (Tier restrictions) continue to apply.
Many businesses will close including non-essential retail, leisure facilities, entertainment venues and personal care facilities. Hospitality venues must close but pubs and restaurants can provide food takeaway and delivery services. Hotels and accommodation providers can only open for limited purposes. A full list will be published and set out in law.
The restrictions specifically state:
To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where people cannot do so (for instance people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing) they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting vital sectors and employers.’
For those businesses who cannot work effectively from home, you should continue to ensure the workplace is Covid-Secure. If you need further guidance on this, please get in touch.
There is guidance relating to those who may be clinically vulnerable but they are not precluded from attending work. However, those who are defined as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) are advised not to go to work and that they may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay or Employment Support Allowance. There will be further guidance published on this today (2nd November) and the Government will write to everyone who is CEV to set out detailed advice for this period.
Furlough Scheme Extension
The Prime Minister also announced that the new Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be deferred and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) commonly known as the furlough scheme that was due to come to an end will continue throughout November. The extended furlough scheme is more generous than it was in October, mirroring the arrangements in place in August. Additionally employees who were on a UK payroll on or before 30th October 2020 will be eligible. Payment will be in arrears whilst we await an update to the scheme and the system.
Main points to note for the extended CJRS:
the Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500
employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work
flexible furloughing will be allowed in addition to full-time furloughing
no requirement to have previously used the scheme or furloughed a particular employee
Who is eligible? Employers
All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS.
The government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the scheme, as has already been the case for CJRS, but partially publicly funded organisations may be eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted. All other eligibility requirements apply to these employers.
Who is eligible? Employees
To be eligible to be claimed for under this extension, employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30th October 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30th October 2020.
As under the current CJRS rules:
Employees can be on any type of contract. Employers will be able to agree any working arrangements with employees.
Employers can claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working, calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period. Such calculations will broadly follow the same methodology as currently under the CJRS.
When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days.
Employers will need to report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period.
For worked hours, employees will be paid by their employer subject to their employment contract and employers will be responsible for paying the tax and NICs due on those amounts.
What support is being provided and employer costs:
For hours not worked by the employee, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. The grant must be paid to the employee in full.
Employers will pay employer NICs and pension contributions, and should continue to pay the employee for hours worked in the normal way.
As with the current CJRS, employers are still able to choose to top up employee wages above the scheme grant at their own expense if they wish.
The Government will confirm shortly when claims can first be made in respect of employee wage costs during November, but there will be no gap in eligibility for support between the previously announced end-date of CJRS and this extension
We will provide further updates as more information becomes available and please also check our Coronavirus HR Hub https://www.hrdept.co.uk/coronavirus/. For those who have already agreed with employees that they will be working under the JSS this week, please contact us so we can discuss appropriate next steps and communications with your teams.