Following the recent Chancellor’s unprecedented announcement about the Government covering up to 80% of employee costs if your business has no work for them, this will be a much needed lifeline for many of our clients during the current crisis. However, this does come with certain conditions which will require changing your existing employment contracts.
At present, there is growing uncertainty both within the UK and worldwide since the onset of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its ongoing spread. Given the effects and impact this has within the workplace and on business continuity as a whole, employers may need to consider placing their staff on short time working or temporary lay-off, in accordance with contractual and statutory rights.
This guide will provide further information for employers should they be in a position to ask their staff to stay at home or take unpaid leave if there is not enough work for them to do, and can act as measures to avoid compulsory redundancies.
What is IR35?
IR35 is a piece of legislation that allows HMRC to collect additional payment where a contractor is an employee in all but name. If a contractor is operating through an intermediary, such as a limited company, and but for that intermediary they would be an employee of their client, IR35 kicks in. IR35 requires the intermediary to make an extra payment to compensate for the additional tax and NI that HMRC would have received on an equivalent employee’s wages.
On the 6th April 2020, new legislation will be introduced in the UK to enforce paid parental bereavement leave in order to support parents of a child who dies on or after 6th April 2020. The new legislation refers to the Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020 and Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay Regulations 2020.
Unfortunately, bereavement is something we all face at some point in our lives, but we sadly recognise that the death of a child is among the most devastating events that an individual can ever face. The new legislation coming into force has been put in place to ensure employers provide support to their employees by ensuring bereaved parents can take parental bereavement leave.
[Upload date: 9/3/20]
Current government guidance is that an individual should self-isolate at home for 14 days after visiting certain areas or after having close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
If an employee is self-isolating, following government guidance, but they do not have any symptoms, it is arguable that they do not have the right to statutory sick pay, as this applies only where the employee is incapable of work due to illness.
However, it would be good practice for employers to treat the absence as sick leave and pay the employee in accordance with their usual policy, or to pay them in full. Employers should aim to avoid the situation where an employee attends work against medical guidance, risking the spread of coronavirus, because they are concerned about not being paid or having to use up their annual leave allowance to cover any absence.
If an employee is absent following an instruction from their employer not to come to work as a preventative measure, they are entitled to be paid as usual.
On 26 February 2020, Health Secretary Matt Hancock made a statement to the House of Commons saying that “Self-isolation on medical advice is considered sickness for employment purposes. That is a very important message for employers and those who can go home and self-isolate as if they were sick, because it is for medical reasons.” Whether or not this is an accurate explanation of the legal position for all employees, it confirms that it is good practice for employers to pay sick pay to self-isolating employees as if they were in fact ill.
If an employee has tested positive for coronavirus, or has flu-like symptoms, they will be entitled to sick pay as usual.
On 4 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced that emergency legislation would be brought forward, including “measures to allow the payment of statutory sick pay from the very first day you are sick, instead of four days under the current rules”. No further details are yet known about this measure, such as which individuals will be covered.
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
Arrangements may be in place to protect your staff and premises, but what about your business itself?
With recent events posing commercial vulnerabilities such as Brexit, COVID-19, severe adverse weather and many other unplanned events, it is key to any business to address risk and put plans in place for business continuity.
The latest versions of the following ISO standards all have a risk based approach and the ability to assist in planning for these types of occurrences:
- ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems Requirements
- ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems Requirements
- ISO 27001 Information Security Management Systems Requirements
- ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Requirements
All four standards contain clause 6.1 which relates to actions to address risks and opportunities. This requires risk identification and a process for mitigation and application of contingencies to reduce exposure. These risks are regularly monitored to ensure that arrangements are up to date and managed.
Section 7.4 of all four standards addresses internal and external communication which puts in place a structure to define what to communicate, who to communicate it to and when.
Section 8.4 of ISO 9001 outlines the requirements relating to control of externally provided products and services which works towards safeguarding your supply chain and putting contingencies in place. This has been tested by many of our clients recently with transport disruption during recent storms and has greatly assisted in making sure that service level agreements have been met.
Section 8.2 within ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 specifically addresses emergency preparedness and response which is regularly reviewed, tested and managed in line with risks. Many clients have developed this policy for a more global approach incorporating arrangements to manage events such as isolation.
HR Services Scotland have an experienced Commercial team who support organisations through ISO certification. When applied effectively to your organisation, ISO standards can support and assist in the sustainability of your organisation.
For more information please contact our Business Development Manager, Graham Hyslop on 0800 652 2610 or by email [email protected]
At present, there are almost 1400 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the UK. See the latest updates on the pandemic in Britain.
Given the effects and impact this has within the workplace, employers should consider some simple steps to help protect the health, welfare, safety and well-being of staff.
Within Small to Medium–sized Enterprises (SMEs), an employee relations strategy can be harmonious or exploitative, or anything in between. It can change continuously depending on the various challenges SME’s react to.
HR Services Scotland will soon be running a training course for The Emergency First Aid at Work Certificate.
Taking place on Friday 27th March 2020 from 9am til 4pm, this certificated course will involve training in the following emergency first aid procedures:
The Emergency First Aid at Work Certificate, also known as the EFAW Certificate, shows that you have completed the necessary First Aid training and are able to provide emergency treatment in the event of an individual injuring themselves or falling ill.
The EFAW Certificate is valid for 3 years and is issued by your first aid training provider, which in this case will be HR Services Scotland. As a Certified Emergency First Aider, you will have the necessary skills and knowledge to respond effectively to emergencies both in the workplace and beyond.
More details about the course can be found below:
Address: Mirren Court, 123 Renfrew Rd, Paisley PA3 4EA
Date: Friday 27th March 2020
Time: 9am – 4pm (Lunch Included)
Price: £95+ VAT
If you are interested in further information, or booking places on this course for members of your business, then please call 0800 6522610 or email [email protected]
Regardless of position within the business, whether an employee, CEO or business owner,
everyone commits a considerable amount of their time and effort into the organisation and
deserves recognition for their efforts.