Following the recent Government announcement of the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until 31 March 2021, XpertHR has published updated guidance and resources to help employers navigate the extended scheme.
The Government will cover 80% of furloughed employees’ pay for the hours they do not work, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Employers will be responsible for paying the employer national insurance contributions (NICs) and auto-enrolment pension contributions.
The scheme will be reviewed in January 2021 to decide if economic circumstances are such that employers can contribute more from 1 February 2021.The ability to flexibly furlough employees will continue, so employees will be able to work part time – with employers paying employees in full for the hours they work.
Employers need to be aware too that the Job Retention Bonus of £1,000 has been withdrawn. The bonus would have been payable to employers in February 2021 for employees who had been furloughed but remained employed until 31 January 2021.
XpertHR ran a free webinar in November with employment lawyer, Darren Newman on the ‘Extended furlough and other workforce protection measures’ which employers can listen to for help reviewing their business models and understanding the steps they need to take to protect their workforce.
Darren guides employers through the extended scheme and other options, such as short-time working. He also discussed some of the employee relations challenges employers may be tackling, including managing employees who are required to self-isolate.
Jeya Thiruchelvam, Managing Editor at XpertHR says, “With England in lockdown and some restrictions likely throughout the winter, the extension of the furlough scheme is welcome news for employers. However, the last minute nature of the extension meant that by the time it was announced many employers had already spent considerable time planning how to transition employees from furlough to redundancy, or back to work, or onto the Job Support Scheme, in anticipation of the furlough scheme closing on 31 October 2020. Employers are currently struggling to stay on top of government guidance on the extended furlough scheme, which has been amended multiple times already. All our resources on the extended scheme reflect the latest guidance and can be relied on by employers to help them navigate the scheme.
XpertHR has over 150 COVID-19 resources which cover legal compliance and practical measures for HR managers. Its latest resources include model letters to help employers comply with the extended scheme rules as well as employment law:
There are updated resources on shielding measures too. Although compulsory shielding has not been reintroduced in England, in the light of the increased number of COVID-19 cases and the latest lockdown the Government has “strongly advised” clinically extremely vulnerable employees to work from home, and if they cannot work from home they “should not attend work for this period of restrictions”.
Resources include advice on statutory sick pay and coronavirus, obligations an employer has to employee who lives with someone who is at high risk and the special measures employers have a duty to take to protect employees who are most at risk if they are exposed to coronavirus.
XpertHR also carries out regular surveys that give insight into how businesses are managing during the pandemic. The latest survey looks at the redundancy risk that still prevails for many, and how organisations’ plan for the return to workplaces.
For more information on XpertHR visit: www.xperthr.co.uk