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Employment Law


Latest guidance from the HMRC to all employers

1. Employees can roll on and off furlough status intermittently, but they must be furloughed for a minimum period of 21 days.

2. Vulnerable employees who have been asked to shield can instead be furloughed.

3. Employee agreement is necessary, and formal consultation procedures will apply. This wasn’t discussed but broadly, formal procedures are triggered if it is proposed that 20 or more employees within a 90-day are to be furloughed, especially if redundancies are the alternative if employees do not agree to the changes.

4. Scheme will run for at least 3 months. Decision will be made in mid-May on whether to extend.

5. Directors can apply so long as they are on PAYE payroll. They can still perform statutory duties during furlough, but not other work.

6. HMRC portal should be ready mid- to late April.

7. Employees on annual leave are not furloughed and so reimbursement of their wages cannot be claimed under the scheme while they are on annual leave.

8. Emphasis that the scheme is for employees who might otherwise have been made redundant and so they cannot do any work, other than statutory duties, for employer while furloughed.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

On 26 March 2020, HMRC published further information about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme that was announced by the government last Friday 20 March.

The government’s announcement provided little detail but said the scheme would allow employers to “furlough” or lay off employees as an alternative to redundancy. The employer would then be able to claim reimbursement of up to 80% (capped at £2500 per month) of a furloughed employee’s wages by using an HMRC portal that would be available late April.

Yesterday’s announcement added the following details:

• The scheme will last for 3 months and claims can be backdated to 1 March 2020

• It covers employees who have been on the employer’s PAYE payroll since 28 February 2020 Employees who have already been made redundant (that is, dismissed and not just temporarily laid off) can be furloughed if they are re-hired. New employees hired after 1 March are not eligible

• Employees on sick leave or self-isolating need to complete sick leave before they can be furloughed

• Employees on unpaid leave are not eligible unless the leave began after 28 February

• A furloughed employee cannot do any work for the employer. That means employees who are working reduced hours, such as where the employer has decided to share the available work amongst its staff, will not be eligible

• Employers will be able to recover up to 80% of the employee’s gross wage plus employer’s NI contributions and minimum employer pension contributions. Bonuses and commission should not be included when calculating wages, and there is further detail on how to calculate wages for staff whose pay varies

• Employees will be taxed on their wages as normal

Please remember that nothing in the scheme allows an employer to reduce the pay of furloughed employee without their prior agreement in writing. And, unless the employment contract allows you to make layoffs, the employee will also have to agree to be furloughed. Ensure you record agreement to a lay off and/or a reduction in pay in a letter signed by the employee before you implement the changes, otherwise you may be faced with a claim for unlawful deductions from wages.

For further advice please get in touch with our Employment Specialist Linda Wylie who will be happy to help you with any current concerns you have.

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*No delay to controversial IR35 changes which will affect both employers and employees*

Our Employment Law Specialist Linda Wylie can guide and support you through this uncertain time and ensure you are fully prepared.

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Employment law can be a minefield and problems that arise can often be very costly and time consuming. Our Employment Law Specialist Linda Wylie will guide and support you through any difficult issues that may arise from start to finish.

Linda also focusses on preventative advice, ensuring correct employment procedures and practices are followed but if problems do arise, she will work with you to find practical and commercial solutions.

We believe in communicating clearly and want you to feel confident you are receiving the best legal advice that is right for you and your business.

Linda works with clients on a range of employment issues including:

  • Employment Tribunal claims
  • Dismissals & Grievances
  • Constructive Dismissal
  • Discrimination
  • Whistleblowing
  • Business protection & Contract Disputes 
  • Redundancy & Business Reorganisation
  • Implementing change
  • Sickness Absence Management 
  • TUPE
  • Directors or Executives Disputes
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Breach of Restrictive Covenants
  • Settlement Agreements

She can also offer bespoke training packages, seminars and business briefings to our clients and provide updater services.

Our Fees

You can find out more about our pricing for representation at Employment Tribunals for unfair or wrongful dismissal claims here

Call Linda today on 0117 923 4031 or send her an email: lxw@meadeking.co.uk and she will be happy to help you.