23rd March 2020
That these are unprecedented times is clear, and keeping pace with the daily briefings from the Government and the impact on your business and staff that the current crisis brings is daunting.
One key and simple piece of advice to keep in mind during the coming weeks and possibly months when dealing with your people is that whilst the usual framework of employment rights and obligations still applies, having open and honest communication with staff is critical to being able to implement any changes swiftly and fairly.
The news on Friday 20 March that employers would be able to access funds to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during the crisis, will provide a safety net for many.
The guidance so far is scant but the aim of this briefing note is to set out what we know so far and answer some initial questions that you may have and provide advice on planning ahead.
What we know:
To access the scheme you will need to:
Under the scheme:
The above is what we currently know from the brief guidance for both employers and employees on the Government website; our advice on the implications of this and practical issues that may arise we discuss below, albeit we should have more information as further detail emerges.
The practical implications and what we don’t yet know for sure
If you are looking at a range of measures that may now include ‘furloughing’ staff for a period under the scheme, then open and honest communication about the needs of the business at this time, steadying the ship and preserving it and jobs until the current measures in place across the UK abate and trading returns to some degree of normality, will be key to preserving the confidence and goodwill of one of your key assets – your people.
Please note: Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice and we are not liable for any reliance on the information provided. This is a rapidly changing subject, and whilst correct at the time of writing, circumstances may have changed since publication. Please refer to Gov.uk for up-to-date advice on the Government’s response to this issue.
To find out more about anything covered in this article, or to discuss the potential impact of COVID-19 on your business, please contact Kerrie Hunt or another member of Thrings’ Employment and Immigration team.
See our update on statutory self-employment pay (24 March).