The TSP Employment Law team answer the questions that many employers may have as they adapt to the evolving Coronavirus situation.

Who should be at work ?

  • Key workers, for example NHS staff and those working in health services, teachers, refuse workers, HGV drivers and those working in food/medical supplies manufacture. These will be workers who cannot work from home i.e. for those for whom working from home (WFH) is impossible, rather than not as efficient

Who should not be at work ?

  • Those who can WFH. It may be that they are not as efficient but if work can be done from home, one should not go to work
  • Those who are ill, self isolating, living with someone who is ill or who are “high risk” should not go to work.  Up to date advice can be found here

If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Corona Virus Business Interruption Loan. Click here for more information.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the new concept of “Furlough”

  • Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. Eligible employers will be those who had set up a payroll before 28 February 2020 and with a UK bank account. The scheme covers full-time, part-time, agency and zero/flexible hours employees
  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, plus NI contributions and pension contributions. Pay will be based on the employee’s gross pay as at 28 February 2020
  • The scheme will also cover employees who were made redundant after 28 February 2020 if they have been re-hired by their employer
  • Employers will need to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ for a minimum period of three weeks and notify your employees of this change in writing. Employers will be able to submit information to HMRC about furloughed employees and their earnings through a new online portal which is expected to be live by the end of April
  • Employees will be able to carry forward up to 4 weeks’ annual leave if they were unable to take it due to Corona virus. The rolled over leave will need to be taken within two years from when it was due

Self-employed workers

  • Self-employed workers will be able to claim a grant to cover up to 80% of their trading profit for 3 months. The grants are to be issued in June
  • Self-employed workers who earned income during the 2019/2020 tax year will be eligible. Those who are not eligible should explore Universal Credit
  • HMRC will contact eligible claimants directly, there will be no portal to claim through

For all legal advice please be in touch with your usual contact at Thompson Smith and Puxon, or for advice specifically about the employment of staff and workers, please email or call: