On Friday 20th March 2020, the Government announced plans to support all UK employers by continuing to pay part of their employees’ salary, for people who would otherwise have been paid off.
Full disclosure of what this will mean for employees and the process that employers need to take to claim this grant funding is yet to be announced. However, the UK Government will fund 80% of employee salaries up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
This is available to all UK businesses and will require employers to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and make employees aware of participation in the scheme, including the fact that their status has changed.
The status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and may be subject to negotiation (depending on the employee’s contract).
Employers are required to submit information to HMRC about the employees that are in this position, including their earnings. This will be done through an online HMRC portal, which is in the process of being set up.
For businesses experiencing current cash flow issues, application to the ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan’ is available. More information is available on this is available HERE.
What do employees need to do?
The responsibility is with the employer to apply to the scheme, and employers have been encouraged to communicate changing employment status with employees.
Employees who have not received communication from their employer should speak to their line manager / HR team to gain an understanding of their personal circumstances.
What if I am on a zero-hours contract?
The details of the government scheme are yet to be announced, but it is thought that allowances will be based on an average from the last 12-week period of earnings. This has yet to be confirmed by the government, and employers should confirm what is being paid.
What if I have coronavirus / have been deemed unfit for work?
You will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as a minimum, but contracts of employment should be consulted to see if you are entitled to contractual sick pay through your employer.
Those who cannot work from home and have been told to self-isolate should still receive their contractual sick pay / SSP (contact your employer for more information).
What if my employer is not participating in the scheme or advises me that my redundancy/layoff is definite?
Further information is yet to be announced. However, more information on layoffs and short-term working (including redundancy) is available HERE.
The UK Government are yet to announce the full details of the scheme. advice.scot will provide further once more information is released.