20 April 2020

Weekend sees ongoing updates to job retention scheme

Coronavirus employment law is changing at a bewildering pace, so we’ve studied the small print for you and highlighted the key changes over recent days

Employment law has seldom seen such rapid and fundamental changes. And this weekend saw further updates to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the rules governing COVID-19-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

It comes in the wake of HM Treasury’s Direction issued to HMRC last week, which detailed how the CJRS should be applied in practice.

The key points you need to know:

Online service goes live

The online portal for claiming back pay under the CJRS is now live. You’ll need your Government Gateway login details to hand. For advice on how to use the service, please see their website.

Furlough and annual leave

Further guidance has finally been introduced on taking annual leave during furlough. At this stage, the guidance only confirms that it’s possible for employees to take periods of annual leave while furloughed.

It says this should be paid at the employees’ normal rate of pay, meaning employers will still have to top up the 80% received through the CJRS.

Further guidance is awaited as to whether employers can compel staff to use their holidays during a period of furlough in the normal way. We’ll update you once this is published.

Sick pay

Changes were also made to the rules surrounding the payment of SSP during the outbreak. Previously, only those who were self-isolating due to showing symptoms, or living with someone who was showing symptoms, could be paid SSP. This right has now been extended to include those who are classified as ‘extremely vulnerable’ and who are ‘shielding’ in line with public health advice. People in these categories should have been contacted by the NHS already.

Furlough and sick pay

The new guidance notes that employees on furlough leave can't receive SSP. Employers must determine whether a specific employee is either on furlough or on a period of sickness absence for which they can be paid SSP. Employers will only be able to claim through the CJRS for those in the former category.

Still here for you

We’re here to answer all your questions. Just ask.

Call Oliver Tasker at our Lincoln office on 01522 515 987 or email oliver.tasker@wilkinchapman.co.ukor

Katie Davies in our Grimsby office on 01472 253 917 or email katie.davies@wilkinchapman.co.uk

Book on our free live webinar

Register for our third live digital event in partnership with Lincolnshire Chamber. Join Oliver Tasker as he outlines the latest developments on the retention scheme, furlough and other aspects of employment law. There's also a chance to ask your questions. Sign up for the event on Thursday 23 April at 2.00pm.

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