Important Update on Job Retention Scheme – Reclaiming of Notice Pay

The Government has now published its revised rules for the extended period of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) through to its new end date of 31 March 2021.

The scheme will operate largely as it did in the period up to 31 October 2020, however it is important to note that with effect from 1 December 2020, an employer can no longer claim in respect of an employee who is serving out any sort of notice period, whether contractual or statutory. Even where notice was given prior to 1 December 2020 but will not expire until after that date, claims to HMRC in respect of that employee must cease with effect from that date.

Click the link below to read this full update:

IMPORTANT UPDATE ON JOB RETENTION SCHEME RECLAIMING OF NOTICE PAY

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.

COVID-19 Employer’s Briefing Video

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a further national lockdown in England, it has been confirmed that the furlough scheme has been extended across the UK until March 2021.

HR Services Scotland have prepared this video detailing some of the key changes this has made to the job retention scheme, and how it may affect your business.

We are committed to supporting our clients during this unprecedented time. If you would like to speak to a member of our team, please contact us on 0800 652 2610.

An Employer’s Guide to Remote Working

Given the recent Government announcements on increasing national restrictions amidst the Coronavirus pandemic crisis, there is an ongoing debate about the merits and effectiveness of working remotely versus working in a traditional office building. Recent research indicates that more than half of workers are reluctant to return to the office. Adaptation to remote working, returning to work and a hybrid model will continue to evolve, albeit at a far more rapid pace in the 2020s than it did in the 2010s.

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Car Sharing During COVID-19

On Tuesday 22nd September 2020, the First Minister of Scotland announced that car sharing should no longer be carried out and businesses are urged to avoid car sharing, where possible.

The Scottish Government website has clarified this and says:

  • “You should only car share with members of your own, or extended, household, and follow guidance when there is no alternative”

How will this effect businesses where multiple staff will travel in the same vehicle?

It is recognised that there may be situations where driving for work requires multiple people to be within the one vehicle, in this instance, the business is required to carry out a risk assessment and implement suitable control measures.

On such occasions, you should:

  • Keep to small groups of people
  • Keep your distance and take care entering and exiting the vehicle
  • Sit as far apart as possible in the vehicle, avoiding face-to-face
  • Maintain good ventilation by keeping the car windows open (where possible)
  • Wear a face-covering for the duration of the journey
  • Clean your hands before and after your journey and utilise hand sanitiser
  • If the vehicle is your responsibility, clean the door handles and other areas that people touch
  • If you regularly share transport whether it is a car, van, lorry etc. try and share with the same people each time

The emphasis will be on the employer who will need to demonstrate that there was no other reasonable alternative and are required to mitigate any risks of cross infection between driver and passenger(s).


If we can help you with this or any other Health and Safety issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Health and Safety Team on 0800 652 2610 – select option 2 for Health and Safety.

 

Important Announcement: Office IT Migration 2nd October

*OUR IT SYSTEMS ARE BEING MIGRATED ON THE 2nd OCTOBER AT 3:30pm*

As part of our Business Plan to continue to deliver an excellent level of service to our client base we will be migrating to a new IT platform. This is designed to meet the current and future operation requirement of our business and will further enhance our business continuity plan.

The migration has been scheduled to take place between 3.30pm Friday the 2nd of October and Monday the 5th of October 2020. We anticipate a risk of outage during this time with limited access to information.

We do however aim to deliver our professional services to the best of our ability within the temporary secured IT infrastructure over these two days and plan a full return to operations on Tuesday the 6th of October.

During this time if you have any queries, please call our Office on 0800 652 2610 where a member of the team will be happy to assist.

Personal Hygiene

Covid-19 Risk Assessment Reminder

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.

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Is Your Business Ready For The Upcoming Changes To The Government Job Retention Scheme?

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

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.

Homeworking

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.

Redundancy Programmes

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

HR Services Scotland Receives New ACP Membership Certification

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:

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Information on the Redundancy Payments Service

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.

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An Employer’s Guide to Flexible Furlough (Video)

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.