CHANGES TO FURLOUGH
Oh my goodness! We are now in June. What a strange year 2020 has been and will continue to be.
You’ve not heard from me for a month or so, as I had nothing to share, but now we have some detail on what help will be available to get back to work. This was announced on Friday and I know many of you will already have made note and started planning. So, to summarise:
- 10 June – if you have not furloughed someone yet, this is the date that you will need to start their furlough to give them a minimum of 3 weeks furlough before 30 June. Why? Only people who have previously been furloughed can be part of the scheme from 1 July and they need to have been furloughed before 30 June.
- 1 July (a month earlier than originally suggested) you will have flexibility, i.e. part work, part furlough. You will need to pay 100% for the hours they work and the Government will pay (via the claim) 80% of the wages for the hours they cannot work.
- There is (at the moment) no minimum or maximum time (hours per week) you can have them working – but the period of work must be for at least 1 week. You will be required to give the usual hours an employee would work and the actual hours they worked in the claim period.
- If you do not have work for them, or they cannot return (shielding, childcare, etc.), you can continue to furlough 100% of time under existing rules.
- From 1 August, the Government will taper the scheme and you will be contributing more.
- In August, you will be able to claim 80% of wages, but will pay employer NIC and pension contribution for the whole payment to the employee.
- In September, you will be able to claim 70% of wages (capped at £2187.50) and be expected to pay NIC and pension, plus 10% of furloughed wages.
- In October, the claim will be 60% (capped at £1875) and be expected to pay NIC and pension, plus 20% of furloughed wages.
- The cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked.
- You will, from 1 July, need to clearly show what hours were worked and which were furloughed on your claims.
- It doesn’t say, but I assume that the furlough grant will still relate to the pay received on pay date before 19 March, whereas payment for hours worked must be at current rate, i.e. National Minimum/Living Wage from 1 April, or any pay rise promised during the furlough period. (I may prove to be wrong here – and will let you know if I find out that’s the case).
Bringing people back into the work place:
- Do risk assessments.
- Make sure you and your teams adhere to the procedures you have put in place to protect your team and customers.
- Make what you are doing clear to your team and the consequences of not following the procedures.
- COMMUNICATE – think about what you are going to do with those that still need to shield, still have childcare to consider, the worried-well, and talk to them. I have been having lots of conversations around this and the impact on the business and the morale of colleagues. It’s a difficult and frustrating area, but one that needs careful consideration and action.
- Talk to your team as a group and individually – we will all react to this differently and you have a responsibility to facilitate a healthy and safe environment, including mental health and well-being.
- Working from home – if your team can work from home, you will need to adapt your communication and work practices. You should discuss with those employees the practicalities of working from home. You may have just sent them home with a computer at the start of this and that has worked okay for the last couple of months. But this situation is likely to continue for several more months and a range of concerns will start to show themselves – physical space, security, physical and mental health etc.
As always – any questions, just ask.