Important HRNet Update
Date: Last updated 18 June 2020
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June 2020. After which, employers will only be able to furlough employees who had been furloughed for a minimum of three weeks previously. This means that employees must be furloughed by 10 June 2020 to qualify.
Changes to the Furlough Scheme from 1 July 2020
Members will appreciate that this is a fast moving, developing situation. It has multiple impacts on organisation survival, the employment relationship and managing a workforce. It also involves material risk where, for example, redundancies or contract changes are implemented, such as by furloughing employees.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance has been amended several times by HMRC. Advice given whether through the Cranfield Trust or members own legal and HR advisors will only reflect the understanding and be current as at the date it is given. It is essential that members keep up to date with developments and ensure that any action which they have previously taken complies with the current version of Scheme including the Guidance. This is to ensure validity of a claim under the Scheme and to minimise legal risk. It is critical to appreciate that there are two separate core issues. Firstly, to comply with the Scheme rules, to be reimbursed. Secondly, the related matter of complying with employment law statutory and contractual requirements. There remain many uncertainties and unknowns.
General employment guidance can be found at ACAS and many other external sources:
FAQs on the Scheme can be found at the CIPD and many other external sources:
Many law firms, HR consultancies and other organisations are producing ever developing guidance, on the myriad of issues which arise and which many organisations are asking. Subject to resources, the Trust can offer specific advice on specific employer circumstances. As outlined on the HRNet page, where one off discrete advice is sought, please raise a question on HRNet. Where more time intensive ongoing support is required, please consider the Trust’s Management Consultancy service.
Telephone assistance may also be available on the ACAS helpline ACAS - contact
On 11 May 2020, government guidance was published, one for each of 8 different work environments, explaining steps employers should take to ensure their workplaces are Covid-19 secure. The position remains that workers should work from home wherever possible. New Guidance Launched to help get Brits safely Back to Work It is critical employers follow this guidance.
Need help understanding how to carry out a Coronavirus workplace risk assessment?
The Health and Safety Executive have published a toolkit to assist employers managing issues arising from the pandemic. This, together with their helpline and the government guidance, should assist employers with a variety of issues, including preparing for bringing staff back to work, and making workplaces Covid-19 secure. Their website includes a risk assessment template and an example for offices, shops and other types of business.