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Goodbye Furlough - Hello the Job Support Scheme ....... And new fines

View profile for Marina Vincent
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The furlough scheme expires at the end of October – so where do we go from here?

The Government is replacing the furlough scheme with the Job Support Scheme to try to protect viable jobs.

If your business needs staff part time, and you have enough funding to pay your staff for their part time work and a little more, then this scheme may suit you. I set out below the basic structure of the scheme, but Guidelines are soon to be issued by the Government which should provide more detail.

The Basics

  • Available to small and medium sized businesses without financial assessment (larger businesses must have experienced a drop in turnover)
  • Employees must be on the payroll before 23 September 2020, and must not be on redundancy notice
  • The Scheme will last 6 months from 1 November 2020
  • Employees must work at least 33% of their usual hours and employers must pay for those hours
  • Of the balance of the normal pay, the employer will pay one third, the government will pay one third and the final third will not be paid, so the employee bears that loss
  • The Government’s contribution is capped at £697.92 per month
  • Employees can be moved in and out of the scheme, but each short time working arrangement must last at least 7 days
  • The employer remains responsible for Class 1 employer NICS and pension contributions
  • The payments from the Government are made in arrears, so the employee is paid by the employer, and the first claims can be made from December 2020
  • The arrangement must be agreed in writing with the employee

Some keys points to note about this scheme which are different from furlough

  • Employees must not be on redundancy notice when employers make the claim. Under the furlough scheme, an employee can be on furlough and on redundancy notice at the same time.
  • HMRC will wish to see the written agreement with the employee upon request, and have indicated that they will inform employees of the details of the claim made in respect of their pay. It appears that HMRC plan to crack down on fraudulent or incorrect claims.

And now for the fines...

Whilst wanting to protect jobs, the Government also wants to protect employees. To deter employers from encouraging or requiring employees to come to work when they should be self-isolating, the Government has introduced the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Self Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 which came into force on 28 September 2020. These Regulations make it an offence to knowingly permit a worker to attend a workplace, other than their home, when self-isolating because they have Covid-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. Fines for breaching this Regulation start at £1,000.