Tag: employee

Furlough Scheme Update: From 01 February to 30 April

January 29, 2021, By

This furlough scheme update has formally extended the CJRS until the end of April, and we have further clarification on the scheme’s operation between the above dates.

On 26 January 2021, HMRC published a sixth Treasury Direction in respect of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the “Furlough Scheme”). The latest Direction formally extends the Furlough Scheme until 30 April 2021 and throws further light on the scheme’s operation between 1 February 2021 and 30 April 2021 (the “Relevant Period”). 

We summarise the key points in the furlough scheme update below:

There are no changes to the core elements of the Scheme. For the Relevant Period, employers will continue to be able to claim for 80% of an eligible employee’s salary, capped at £2,500 per month, in respect of hours not worked, and will continue to be required to pay the employer national insurance and employer auto-enrolment pension contributions on furloughed employees’ pay. Employers will also not be able to make claims for employees who are working their notice period.

As promised, HMRC published the first details of employers who have made claims under the scheme on 26 January 2021. The publication provided information about employers who made claims in December 2020. These publications will continue to be made for claims made between 01 February 2021 – 30 April 2021.

The deadlines to submit claims covering the Relevant Period are as follows:

o   February: 15 March 2021
o   March: 14 April 2021
o   April: 14 May 2021

Any amendments to be made to claims in respect of the same period are subject to the following deadlines:

o   February: 29 March 2021
o   March: 28 April 2021
o   April: 28 May 2021

For non-fixed rate employees, employers are required to use the employee’s pay in March and April 2019 as their reference salary for calculating their furlough pay for March and April 2021. The Sixth Treasury Direction recognises that by March 2021, the Furlough Scheme will have been running for a year. This means that an employee who is furloughed in March or April this year could have also been furloughed in March or April 2020.

The Direction, therefore, modifies the relevant reference year for those months to 2019 instead of 2020. When calculating an employee’s January or February 2021 furlough pay, the corresponding calendar month in 2020 should be used, as the Furlough Scheme did not start until March 2020.

Similar changes have been made to the calculation of a non-fixed rate employee’s usual working hours for March and April 2021 due to the possibility that any such employee could have also been furloughed in the corresponding month in 2020.

Where a non-fixed rate employee was not employed in March or April 2019, HMRC’s ‘Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ explains that an employer can only use the averaging method to calculate their usual working hours.

Contact us with any questions

If you would like any assistance in relation to this furlough scheme update, or the job retention scheme in general, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team. You can call us on 0161 969 3131 or fill in our contact form and one of the team will be in touch.

Update to the Job Support Scheme: JSS Open

October 27, 2020, By

November 1st, 2020 is when the Government’s Job Support Scheme launches. We provide the most up to date information about the latest updates on “JSS Open” here.

On Thursday 22 October 2020, Her Majesty’s Treasury announced a further update to the Job Support Scheme. This latest announcement is the second update to the scheme since it was originally introduced on 24 September 2020.

The update only applies to the Job Support Scheme so far as open businesses are concerned (now known as “JSS Open”) and effectively where you are contemplating reducing an employee’s working hours due to a down-turn in work as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on your business operations.

The JSS available for businesses legally required to close due to local and/or national restrictions (now known as “JSS Closed”) remains unchanged.
Please see our earlier update on JSS Closed here.

An overview of JSS open

The changes to JSS Open increase the extent of the Government’s financial support and protect jobs that were previously not covered under earlier versions of the scheme. In summary:

–  Employers must still pay employees their contracted wages for every hour worked.

–  In order to be eligible, employees no longer need to be working a minimum of 33% of their usual hours. This threshold has now been reduced to 20%, capturing a wider pool of employees, including those working just one day a week.

–  For every hour not worked, the Government will contribute to wages up to 61.67%, capped at £1,541.75 per month per employee. This is a significant increase in Government support compared to the previous rules where the Government’s contribution was limited to a third of wages for non-working hours, capped at £697.92 per month.

–  Employers’ required contribution to non-worked hours has now been reduced to 5%, capped at £125 per month. The revised scheme is therefore cheaper for employers to operate than previously was the case making it a potentially more viable option for struggling businesses.

–  To illustrate how the scheme now works – if an employee was being paid £587 for their unworked hours, the government would be contributing £543 and their employer only £44.

–  Employers can top up their contribution beyond 5% at their own discretion.

–  Employers will continue to receive the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus in addition to the JSS contribution, provided they meet all the requirements.

Written Agreements from employees

If you are contemplating using the new JSS Open then you must agree on the new working arrangements with your employees.

Simply notifying employees that they are being placed on the JSS is not sufficient. Therefore, it is important that you ensure that you have written agreements from all employees who have been placed on the JSS (and that you follow up with any employees who have not yet confirmed their agreement to you).

Furthermore, records of these agreements must be kept securely for 5 years as HMRC may require employers to produce them during audits (and at any time upon HMRC’s request). You are also required to keep records of how many hours employees work and the number of usual hours they are not working.

Please note that the above update reflects the Government’s guidance as in force as of today’s date. We understand that more detailed guidance will become available in respect of the above before the end of this month (including that HMRC is apparently going to issue detailed advice about what to include in the agreement with employees and will also provide more detailed worked examples).

Contact us with any questions

If you require any further information in relation to the Job Support Scheme, including how to implement it into your business, our employment team are here to guide you.

Call us on 0161 969 3131 or leave us your details and one of the team will call you back.

What is Constructive Dismissal?

July 19, 2019, By
What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal is the term used where an employee resigns in response to their employer’s conduct in breach of an important term of their employment contract.

If you have experienced the following problems at work, you may be able to bring a claim for constructive dismissal in the employment tribunal:

  • If your contractual benefits are taken away;
  • If you have been bullied or harassed at work;
  • Unreasonable changes to how you work (such as changes to your working hours);
  • If you have been demoted;
  • If your employer refused to pay you;
  • If your work environment is not safe; and
  • If you didn’t have the adequate support needed to do your job.

For a constructive dismissal claim to succeed, you will need to demonstrate the following:

  • Your employer was in repudiatory breach of the employment contract;
  • You resigned in response to that breach; and
  • You did not delay too long before resigning in response to the employer’s breach. If you continue working for any length of time without leaving, you are likely to lose your right to treat the contract as breached and will be regarded as having chosen to “affirm” the contract.

Given the requirements set out above, it can be difficult for an employee to succeed in a claim for constructive dismissal.  It is essential therefore that before commencing a claim, you have the right employment law specialists to guide you through the process.

The ability to secure practical, reliable and friendly advice from an experienced employment law expert will be invaluable during this difficult time. It is important to know the options available to you and the right expert can help to put your mind at ease, advising you in respect of any potential cause of action, preparing your case and keeping you updated with the progress of any proceedings.

If you think that you have a potential claim for constructive dismissal, get in touch with our experienced employment law team who can advise you in respect of any potential cause of action you may have and guide you through your case.  You can contact one of our employment experts on 0161 969 3131, get in touch on our website.