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Newsletter                                             August 2020



Welcome to our August Newsletter.

Mini Budget Announcement
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a number of schemes in his summer ‘mini budget’ announcement on 8th July 2020 re: ‘Plan for Jobs’.  Referencing both Business Update and HMRC Business Help we have summarised some of the main points below. 

Job Retention Bonus 
The package includes a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. 

To be eligible, employees will need to: 
- earn at least £520 per month (above the Lower Earnings Limit) on average for November, December, and January 
- have been furloughed by the employer at any point and legitimately claimed for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 
- have been continuously employed by the employer up until at least 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021. 

Employers will be able to claim the bonus from February 2021 once accurate RTI data to 31 January has been received.  Full guidance will be published in the Autumn. 

Work Placements 
The Chancellor announced a "Kickstart scheme" to create more jobs for young people.  The fund will subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24, who are at risk of long-term unemployment.  

For each "kickstarter" job, the government will cover the cost of 25 hours' work a week at the National Minimum Wage. 

The government will fund employers who provide trainees with work experience at a rate of £1,000 per trainee and expand eligibility for traineeships to those with Level 3 qualifications and below. 

Please find a link below that will take you to the news story on the government website:

Chancellor's Plan for Jobs to help the UK's recovery published on 8th July 2020 from HMRC and the Chancellor. 

Redundancy - Notice payments being paid at normal wages 
On 31st July a new law was passed to ensure that furloughed employees receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages, rather than a reduced furlough rate, meaning employers will have to top up employees notice pay to 100% of their salary and not the furlough payment 80%.  

The changes will aid those furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by ensuring they are not short-changed if they are made redundant. The changes will also apply to statutory notice pay and other entitlements. Employees must be given a notice period before their employment ends, varying from at least one week’s notice up to 12 weeks’ notice, depending on how long they have worked for their employer. During this notice period, employees must be paid. 

Advice on how to manage employees who are self-isolating due to returning from a trip abroad 
Last month, Spain and its islands were removed from the Government’s exemption list of countries which do not require self-isolation on return, meaning that anyone returning  to the UK from any of these places must self-isolate for a period of 14 days to effectively ‘quarantine’. The list is ever changing and may differ between England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. There are also exemptions for certain groups of employers.  

To check the status please find the link here: 

If this has impacted you as an employer, you may now have members of your teams who are required to take an additional two weeks’ absence from work to self- isolate.  It is advised that you take a consistent approach across the business as to how you will categorise this time off and communicate to all employees how this will impact their pay should they find themselves in this position. 

Reminder Re: The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) 
- From 1 September 2020 employers will start contributing to the wages of their furloughed employees as well as employer contributions. Grants will be for 70% of usual wages in September, but furloughed employees will continue to be entitled to receive at least 80% of their usual wages. Employers will have to make up the difference from their own resources. 

- From 1 October 2020 the Government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1875 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay employer contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total to cap of £2500.

Will there be an extension to the Furlough Scheme?

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has shared concerns that up to 3 million jobs will “still be on life support” when the coronavirus job Retention scheme comes to a close at the end of October but if the scheme continues, these jobs will have more chance of being sustained in the future.

The IPPR suggested the government replace the current coronavirus job retention scheme with a new coronavirus work sharing scheme (CWSS) which will run up until March 2021, this scheme would encourage companies to keep employees in work rather than putting them on furlough. This would deter from mass redundancies and protect those businesses who don’t have a plan to protect jobs affected by local lockdowns or a second wave so would result in many employers having to cut staff as they are unable to operate under continued lockdown restrictions.

The IPPR proposed that the CWSS should be made available only to firms in the hardest hit sectors with an estimation it would cost approximately £7.9bn over the five months. However, in the event of local lockdowns or a second wave, the scheme would be open to any business that needed support.

Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said "The job retention bonus won't be sufficient to protect jobs, so we believe there needs to be additional support. It makes sense to develop a more targeted support system to enable firms to retain workers through reduced hours, like through some form of short time working scheme. This would support workforce flexibility, particularly for key sectors that are likely to have to make significant redundancies if the furlough scheme ends and there's nothing to replace it."

What do you think?

Health & Safety

As many businesses are now back onsite it is important that Government guidelines and legislation is adhered to, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all staff.

- Social distancing is one of the most effective ways of protecting workers from contracting or cross-infecting COVID-19- Where possible you should keep people 2m apart. Businesses may need to review their own business and consider: Can a 2m physical distance between be maintained? What about communal areas such as entrances, toilet or changing facilities, canteens, or kitchen areas? How will you manage team meetings, briefings, interviews, and other interactions? Do you need partitions, barriers, or other separation guides? How will travel arrangements be made?

- It is essential to continue to observe the guidance on good hygiene practices to minimise the spread of infection- each user should clean down any items touched before and after use and other arrangements would include for example ensuring all surfaces, desks, phones, keyboards etc are wiped daily with anti-viral cleaner. Only use your own cutlery, cups, plates etc. and do not leave these on the side, take them back to your desk or personal workspace.

- Hygiene facilities should be provided in line with general workplace welfare regulations, with hand sanitiser also provided to ensure employees can effectively follow the required guidance on hygiene practices. Also, after washing hands it is important to consider drying, do you have electric hand dryers, disposable paper towels, or are you using towels which are re-used and may increase the risk.  

- We have been through some very testing and difficult times recently, therefore it is important that employers consider employees mental health. As we are all individuals, we all manage differently with some workers adapting quite well, and others finding things more difficult.  It is massively important therefore that as responsible employers, we have patience with our workers during their period of readjustment, and also that we give due regard to our workers mental health during these times and actively communicate with our workers, making sympathetic enquiries where required.


Team News

This month we are pleased to welcome Amanda to the Wurkplace team as a HR Consultant. 

We are excited to work with Amanda and look forward to her future here at Wurkplace.


From Our Blog

How Should Employers Handle Staff Quarantine?


How Will COVID-19 Change The Workplace?