Many clients have been asking these last few weeks about Furlough and the Job Retention Scheme. We have some guidance from the government on the subject, what it is and what you are entitled to do as an employer.
- Fees and commissions will not be included in the 80% refund
- Employees can do voluntary work whilst on furlough as long as you the employer don’t generate any revenue from that activity
- Employees must be furloughed for a minimum of 3 weeks
- No employee starting work with you after 28 February 2020 can be part of the scheme
- It gives guidance on calculating the average working week if you have employees who work variable hours
- The employer remains liable for paying NI and pensions contributions but you can claim the NI and pension contributions back through the scheme
- Employees on sick leave or self-isolating should get Statutory Sick Pay, but can be furloughed after this. Employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance can be placed on furlough.
- The CJRS covers those employees who were made redundant after 28 February 2020, providing they are rehired by their employer.
- For full time and part time salaried employees, the employee’s actual salary before tax, as of 28 February should be used to calculate the 80%.
- You do not need to calculate the claim you are making, HMRC will do the calculations from the information they receive already from you as an employer
- HMRC will retrospectively audit claims that you make, which suggests you must take care to ensure that you are operating furlough within the criteria
- You can only submit a claim for reimbursement of monies from HMRC once every three weeks
- And of course, we already know, the employees’ rights continue to accrue whilst on furlough
The detail is in this link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
In most situations, employees and workers should use their paid holiday (‘statutory annual leave’) in their current leave year. This is 5.6 weeks in the UK.
During the coronavirus outbreak, it may not be possible for staff to take all their holiday entitlement. They may be getting to the end of their leave year with holiday still left to take.
Carrying over holiday
The government has introduced a temporary new law to deal with coronavirus disruption. Employees and workers can carry over up to 4 weeks’ paid holiday over a 2-year period, if they cannot take holiday due to coronavirus.
For example, this could be because:
- they’re self-isolating or are too sick to take holiday before the end of their leave year
- they’ve been temporarily sent home as there’s no work (‘laid off’ or ‘put on furlough’)
- they’ve had to continue working and could not take paid holiday
Some employers will already have an agreement to carry over paid holiday. This law does not affect any agreements already in place.
If an employee or worker leaves their job or is dismissed during the 2-year period, any untaken paid holiday must be added to their final pay (‘paid in lieu’).
If someone is temporarily sent home because there’s no work they’ll continue to build up (‘accrue’) holiday in the usual way.
Reaching an agreement
If any agreement is made, it’s a good idea for it to be in writing.
If employees and workers cannot take bank holidays off due to coronavirus, they should use the holiday at a later date in their leave year.
If this is not possible, bank holidays can be included in the 4 weeks’ paid holiday that can be carried over. This holiday can be taken at any time over a 2-year period.
Previously booked holidays
If an employee no longer wants to take time off they’d previously booked, for example because their holiday’s been cancelled, you, as their employer may still tell them to take the time off. If the employee wants to change when they take this time off, they’ll need to get agreement from their employer.
Using holiday for a temporary workplace closure
Employers have the right to tell employees and workers when to take holiday if they need to. An employer could, for example, shut for a week and tell everyone to use their holiday entitlement.
If the employer decides to do this, they must tell staff at least twice as many days before as the amount of days they need people to take. For example, if they want to close for 5 days, they should tell everyone at least 10 days before.
This could affect holiday staff have already booked or planned. So employers should:
- explain clearly why they need to close
- try and resolve anyone’s worries about how it will affect their holiday entitlement or plans
If you think you may need advice on Furlough and the Government Job Retention Scheme or any HR issues relating to the coronavirus, then please call us on 01706 565332 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Metis HR is a professional HR Consultancy based in the North West of England supporting clients across the country. We specialise in providing outsourced HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. Call us now on 01706 565332 to discuss how we may help you.