HR and employment law

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. In addition, the government will now cover the employer national insurance and minimum auto-enrollment pension scheme contributions employers pay on the wages they must pay their furloughed staff – on top of the wages covered under the scheme. 

You can now make a claim via HMRC’s online claim service, which is live on GOV.UK . After a claim has been submitted it will take six working days for it to be paid.

You can claim for employees that were:

  • employed as of 19 March 2020 and were on your PAYE payroll on or before that date; this means that you will have made an RTI submission notifying us of payment of that employee on or before 19 March 2020
  • employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to us on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for you after that, and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them and put them on furlough.

You will need to have the following information to make a claim:

  • a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for ‘HMRC services: sign in or register’ 
  • be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for ‘PAYE Online for employers’
  • the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for: Name, National Insurance number, Claim period and claim amount, and PAYE/employee number (optional).
  • if you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee
  • if you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; they will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.

HMRC have produced this step by step guidance on how to make a claim. There is also a calculator to help you work out your claim. In addition, HMRC has produced a useful video on how to make a claim. You can view it here.

Furloughed workers to receive full parental leave entitlement:
Furloughed workers planning to take paid parental or adoption leave will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings rather than a furloughed pay rate. Find out more here.

Statutory Sick Pay Refund

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the Government in full. More details can be found on .gov.uk 

Useful sources of HR information and FAQs

  • The HR Dept have put together a useful set of FAQs relating to all things HR. You can view it here
  • ACAS has also published advice, including information on sick pay, absences and shut downs, here.
  • CIPD – Advice for employers can also be found on the CIPD website 

Leadership and management 

CMI has produced a Better Managers Briefing webinar on managing the mental health effects of prolonged isolation.

Communicating with employees

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has published advice on communicating with employees in times of crisis here.

Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus outbreak

Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations about changes to apprenticeships due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Updated information on furloughed apprentices, end-point assessment, functional skills apprentices and qualification certification.

New free online learning platform to boost workplace skills

A new online learning platform to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home has been launched by the Education Secretary. Free courses are available through The Skills Toolkit. The new platform gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.

With more people expected to be working and studying remotely in the coming months, the platform offers a great opportunity to learn new skills to help to get ahead online. The platform also offers employees who have been furloughed an opportunity to keep up their skills development while they are at home. Courses on offer cover a range of levels, from everyday maths and tools for using email and social media more effectively at work to more advanced training. Individuals will be able to access courses helping them to create great online content developed by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding, to understand the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing from Google Digital Garage and to learn how to code for data analysis from the Open University. All courses are online and flexible, so people can work through them at their own pace. Find out more information here.