Hello and welcome to our latest employment law update. We had a short break in August, so this month we have packed in tribunal cases, guidance documents and resources to help you navigate the current climate we live in.
As always, you can sign up to receive the full update in your inbox here, but here’s a taster of some of the most important takeaways from the month of September.
The Job Support Scheme (JSS): What we know so far
This month, Rishi Sunak announced that whilst the CJRS would not be extended, new job support measures will be put in place.
Full details of the new scheme and how it will work in practise are yet to be published. Here’s what we know so far:
- The CJRS will come to an end, as planned, on 31 October 2020.
- A new Job Support Scheme will be introduced in November and will run for six months.
- The new scheme will focus on subsidising the wages of people in work and thus is focussed on supporting businesses to bring people back to work.
- To be eligible employees will have to work at least one-third of their normal hours and be paid for that by the employer.
- For the remaining hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay one-third of wages. i.e. the government pay 22% and the employer pays an additional 22% making the employers overall contribution 55%. Thus, an employee working one-third of their hours will receive 77% of their pay in total (subject to the government cap)
- The payment is based on an employee’s normal salary, with the government contribution capped at £697.92 per month.
- The grant will not cover Class 1 employer NIC or pension contributions, although they remain payable by the employer.
- After 3 months the government may increase the minimum number of hours worked.
- Employees must be in “viable jobs” to benefit from the scheme. Therefore, those industries currently closed such as nightclubs may not be eligible as there isn’t any work.
- Employees must have been on the firm’s payroll since at least 23rd September 2020.
- Employers must agree the new short-time working arrangements with their staff, make any changes to the employment contract by agreement, and notify the employee in writing. This agreement must be made available to HMRC on request.
- Employees can be moved off and, on the scheme, and work different hours.
- Each working arrangement must cover 7 days.
- Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice whilst a Job Support Scheme grant is being claimed on their behalf.
- Grants will be payable in arrears meaning that a claim can only be submitted in respect of a given pay period, after payment to the employee has been made and that payment has been reported to HMRC via an RTI return.
- All SMEs are eligible.
- Larger businesses will be eligible if they can demonstrate that their turnover has fallen through the pandemic.
- The new Scheme is open to all employees, even if they were not previously used furlough.
You can download this guidance and more from our Coronavirus advice hub.
Dealing with Local Lockdowns
Whilst the government is working hard to avoid a second national lockdown, and instead locking down the population by regions depending upon the rate of infection, it means that the rules are often confusing and vary greatly from region to region.
So, how should employers deal with the ever-changing landscape especially where you are national business with multiple sites across the UK?
Do national employers need to adopt a regional strategy or is there still a “one size fits all”?
We have put together a new note where we give you some factors that you may wish to consider when identifying which strategy is best for your business. You can download it here.
Redundancy: The Joint Statement from CBI, ACAS and TUC
✅ Do it openly: there are rules for collective redundancies (those involving 20 or more staff), but whatever the scale, the sooner people understand the situation, the better for everyone.
✅ Do it thoroughly: to understand what’s happening people need information and guidance. Have you trained your staff representatives in how it all works?
✅ Do it genuinely: consultation means hearing people’s views before you make a decision; so be open to alternatives from individuals and/or unions; and always feed back.
✅ Do it fairly: all aspects of your redundancy procedure should be conducted fairly and without any form of discrimination.
✅ Do it with dignity: losing your job has a human as a well as a business cost. The way you let people go says a lot about your organisation’s values. Think about how you will handle the conversation – whether its face-to-face or remote. And remember, you may want to rehire the same person in the future.
If you need help, visit our redundancy resource hub here.
For the full update next month, be sure to sign up! See you in October.