Conducting a Covid-19 risk assessment is both a necessary and vital part of managing infection within your organisation. However, your responsibilities extend far beyond that. When your staff return, it is your responsibility to implement and enforce the control measures set out in the assessment i.e. ensuring social distancing, providing hand sanitising stations, ensuring PPE is available etc.
Since the Government lockdown at the end of March 2020, HR Services Scotland Ltd have been working hard to redesign their working methods and practices in order to continue to fully support our client base.
With effect from Wednesday 1st July 2020, the Government initiated the flexible furlough scheme whereby employers could bring previously furloughed employees safely back into the working environment on a part-time/reduced hours basis, and retain them on furlough leave for the remainder of their contractual hours whilst still claiming 80% back from the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Whilst the flexible furlough scheme will be in place until 31st October 2020, after which the job retention scheme will completely cease, employers need to be mindful that from 1st August 2020, they will be required to make contributions to their employee’s wage as follows:
- From 1st August 2020, businesses will be expected to contribute to employer NICs and pensions
- From 1st September 2020, businesses will be expected to contribute 10% of the wage bill, with the Government contributing 70% to make up the 80%
- From 1st October 2020, businesses will be expected to contribute 20% of the wage bill, with the Government contributing 60% to make up the 80%
- The flexible furlough scheme ends on 31st October 2020
With all of this in mind, employers must consider their options now to plan for contributions beginning 1st August 2020 and what this means for them, both economically and commercially.
1st August 2020 is an important day for organisations in the UK.
For many organisations, 1st August 2020 will be the start of a very important period of post-coronavirus economic recovery. This is because the measures put into place by the Government, to help the country survive through the pandemic, will slowly unwind from 1st August.
As a result of this, organisations are reminded of the following:
- Contributions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) will soon begin
- 31st July 2020 is the last date that organisations can make claims to the Job Retention Scheme for the period ending 30th June 2020
- Shielding is coming to a pause until at least 31st July 2020
- Organisations will have discretion over staff’s ability to work from home
The Furlough Scheme
Furloughing is when employees are placed on a temporary leave of absence where they do not carry out any work and receive no pay but are retained on an organisation’s books to be brought back when needed. Whilst furlough traditionally means that the affected employee will receive no pay, the Job Retention Scheme includes a grant from the Government to cover at least 80% of furloughed employees’ wages, to a maximum of £2,500 per employee per month.
Although the scheme does not end until 31st October 2020, as abovementioned, there are two developments on the furlough scheme occurring on 1st August 2020. The first is that organisations must begin to make employer’s National Insurance contributions and pension contributions to furloughed workers’ wage costs. The 80% grant paid by the Government will continue at a cap of £2,500 until the end of August. The next thing to note in relation to the furlough scheme is regarding claim periods. There is a one-off deadline of 31st July 2020 that organisations have to make a claim under the Job Retention Scheme for furloughed staff. This applies to the period up to and including 30th June 2020.
Shielding was introduced for clinically vulnerable people as a measure to both protect said individuals and relieve pressure on the NHS at the peak of the pandemic. In the UK this will be paused from 1st August 2020, which means that employers will be able to return these staff to the workplace.
From 1st August 2020, organisations across the UK will be granted more discretion to end any homeworking measures implemented as a result of lockdown. The Government has affirmed that it is for organisations to decide how to run workplaces safely and ensure all appropriate health and safety measures are in place prior to staff returning to work. This discretion does, however, still include the powers to allow some staff to keep working from home for as long as they need to, for example, due to health conditions. Either way, employees should be consulted on plans and must not be forced to return to work if it is not safe to do so.
There is little doubt as a result of these unprecedented times caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that redundancies are on the rise. They are also beset with issues not experienced before, such as how should they be conducted during the lockdown or whilst staff remain on furlough or flexible furlough leave. We must stress from the outset that there is a proper due process that must always be followed and clearly and concisely documented. Make technical errors in this process and you could be hit with unfair dismissal claims. These can be expensive with up to 52 weeks’ gross pay being awarded. Talk to us if you need support managing the process. Key pitfalls to be wary of include not having the correct selection pools, not consulting early enough, not adhering to consultation timescales and finally, selection criteria which discriminates against anyone with a protected characteristic. These would be equally relevant during normal times, but what is different right now is how you deliver the news.
If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610 – select option 1 for HR
The team at HR Services Scotland Ltd are delighted to have achieved BSI certification on our Associate Consultant Membership. This is awarded based on evidence of projects delivered, training, competency and experience against the standards included on the certificate.
The standards to which our consultancy services are included are as follows:
Affordability of Redundancies
What happens when an employer finds themselves in the difficult financial position where they are unable to pay their employees statutory redundancy payments?
Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, if an employee who is being made redundant has more than 2 years’ continuous service, they are entitled to statutory redundancy pay, among other payments, as part of their termination package.
On Friday 29th May 2020, the Chancellor outlined further details on the extension of the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, including improved flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part-time in July 2020, and a new requirement for employers to contribute to furloughed salaries from August 2020.
HR Services Scotland have prepared a video guide for employers with advice on the process of flexible furloughing, as well as guidance on what contributions the Government is expecting employers to make from 1st August 2020 to 31st October 2020 inclusive.
You can watch this video below:
If we can help you with any issues relating to the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for employees, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our HR team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 6522610.
Both the Scottish and British governments have recently outlined phased strategies for ending the restrictions currently in place as part of the COVID-19 public lockdown.
With many businesses now contemplating an eventual return to their place of work, the team at HR Services Scotland has been advising many of our clients on Health & Safety measures to take when planning to reopen their workplace.
Here are some of the practical actions we would advise businesses to take based on 5 main steps:
While the COVID-19 public lockdown is still in place across many UK sectors, some businesses have already begun gearing up for a return to operation once the restrictions are relaxed.
HR Services Scotland has prepared this video below detailing some of the things that companies should be keeping in mind when approaching the return to work:
To review your return to work plan with a member of our team, then please contact us on 0800 652 2610.
The Commercial Team at HR Services Scotland continue to work on improved service provision while considering the needs of our clients.
Our business continuity plan has been designed with customer requirements at the forefront and we are delighted to announce that we have developed a remote solution to continue to support organisations working towards ISO certification.
We have incorporated the use of secured conferencing and cloud based technology into our pre-certification assessment activities so that the project build and maintenance reflects a work smarter approach.
The standards we support are as follows:
ISO 9001 – Quality Management System
ISO 14001 – Environmental Management System
ISO 27001 – Information Security Management System
ISO 45001 – Health and Safety Management System
BRC Global Standards – Packaging Materials Issue 6
Our services include the following:
- Initial remote consultation to discuss the scope of the project
- Three part gap analysis including remote interview, desktop audit and gap summary report.
- Project plan
- Site visit / virtual tour of the premises
- System build
- Implementation and training
- Internal Audit
- Engagement of certification body
- Support through Stage 1 assessment
- Support through Stage 2 assessment
- Maintenance and support packages available
HR Services Scotland deliver bespoke management systems utilising current best practices within the organisation and structure the management system in line with the clauses of the standards therefore any organisation looking to bolt on an additional standard at a later date can do so with ease utilising the common clause arrangements previously set out.
For organisations working towards more than one standard, our in-house team can offer an integrated management system enabling the organisation to work from one system.
There are many benefits to securing UKAS accredited certification including the following:
- Provision of quality products and services consistently
- Work smart approach
- Be considered for work by quality lead supply chains
- Demonstrate your commitment to quality to your customers and supply chain
- Demonstrate compliance of statutory and regulatory requirements
- Approval by the UK’s National Accreditation Body – UKAS.
For more information, please call us on 0800 6522610.
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers can now access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off or made redundant during this crisis.
At present the scheme is open to all UK businesses and applies to all employees listed on your PAYE payroll as of 19th March 2020. Payments under the scheme will be backdated from 1st March 2020.
However, despite this scheme, some employers may find they are forced to consider longer team workplace reduction plans, particularly if the job retention scheme is not extended beyond the end of June.
HR Services Scotland have prepared a guide for employers detailing what is involved with redundancies relating to the furlough of employees under this scheme.
You can view this guide as a downloadable PDF at the link below:
If we can help you with any issues relating to furlough leave for employees, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our HR team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 6522610.
With remote working recently becoming essential for many businesses, employers must look at adapting how they manage their employees while they are working from home.
For any employee working from home, the employer should:
- pay the employee as usual
- keep in regular contact
- check on the employee’s health and wellbeing
Employers and employees should be practical, flexible and sensitive to each other’s situation when working from home because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.