Furlough update No.2

A lot has changed since we issued the last update, it seems a lot can change in a month! No sooner do we have clarity on something, it changes which must be leading to a lot of confusion beyond the world of HR, if even the seasoned HR professionals are finding it hard to keep up!  Hopefully now that the claims line is open the detail behind the scheme will change less frequently.  To find out the latest, please give us a call and we will endeavour to help.  If the question relates to Coronavirus, our support is completely free. 

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a government grant and will not be repayable. 
  • How do you access the scheme?
    • The HMRC claims line is now open as of 20th April 2020.  
    • You will need the full payroll details for everyone you are furloughing, this includes the salary information that relates to employees and generally not commission based pay. 
  • Who do you not pay furlough to?
    • Those who are shielding, i.e are staying at home because they are an “at risk” group, they will be eligible for SSP. However they may be eligible for furlough if you close the whole business.
    • Those for whom there is work
    • Company directors MAY fall outside of the furlough scheme
    • Those who are freelancer/contractors
  • How do you deal with sickness and holiday during furlough?
    • If an employee becomes sick during furlough, rather than confuse your payroll, keep them furloughed.
    • Equally if they take time off for holiday, keep them furloughed.
  • What about those who are caring for family?
    • Employees who are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from Covid-19 can be furloughed. 
  • How long do we furlough people for and can we bring them back in when there is work?
    • Furloughing employees must be on a three week cycle, and you are able to rotate employees.  
  • We still have work, although it has reduced, what can we do?
  • You should use common sense, don’t furlough people because you don’t like them, make sure it’s because there is no work for them. It is reasonable to ask people to do work that they wouldn’t usually do so long as there is a need for them to work.  Be sure you use business sensible criteria. 
  • Your staff will be responding to this very differently, some will find it far harder than others for many reasons.  Please be empathetic. There are various charities doing some amazing things to support people from Mind, to Rail for Refuge and many many others, please signpost people who are struggling.  
  • If you’d like to find out more about how to understand what your staff are feeling, thinking, performing or otherwise we have resources for amazing technology offering free services to support you.  It is very valuable to find out what staff are thinking now, so you can respond to it in the here and now. This will make such a difference to how your staff feel connected and their overall performance now and later. Equally it will save you a lot of effort recruiting later; staff who feel ignored create a lot more work later than you need, putting it frankly. The recovery piece for your business doesn’t need to be dealing with disgruntled staff.
  • I am a company director, can I furlough myself and what duties do I still need to do?
    • You can furlough yourself as a company director but there are still some responsibilities around submitting companies financial position.  We are still awaiting clarity on this, we advise you contact us for more information around this.

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