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Lockdown Nov-20 - What Employers Need to Know - Lighter HR

On Saturday 1st November 2020, the Prime Minister announced that there is a need to place England into a second period of lockdown. 

This lockdown starts on Thursday 5th November 2020 and is expected to end at midnight on Wednesday 2nd December 2020. 

At the same time as the lockdown was announced, the Prime Minister also announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which was due to end on 31st October 2020 was being extended to cover the new lockdown.

Subsequently, the Prime Minister has announced the further extension to the CJRS and it is now in place until 31st March 2021.

The purpose of this guidance note is to give you some additional information on the announcement and the implications for employers of the new rules. 

We strongly advise you get in-touch with us on 0203 319 1649 to get expert, tailored guidance before you take any actions.

What are the new lockdown rules?

The lockdown is slightly less severe than it was first time around in that manufacturing and construction work is allowed to continue and tradespeople are permitted to continue working, even if that means entering other people’s homes.

The key rules are as follows:

  • Everyone must stay home. You can leave for specific purposes which are:
    • for childcare or education, where this is not provided online
    • for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes)
    • to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place – with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).
    • for any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies, or to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm – such as domestic abuse
    • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which should be as infrequent as possible
    • to visit members of your support bubble or provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer
  • Non-essential retail outlets are required to close
  • Entertainment venues are required to close
  • Personal care providers (hairdressers, beauty therapists etc.) are required to close
  • All indoor and outdoor leisure facilities are required to close

What about the Job Support Scheme (JSS)?  Is that still happening?

Not whilst in lockdown.

The Job Support Scheme has been placed on hold and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will continue to run instead. 

It makes sense to only have one scheme running at a time as this makes it far easier for employers to manage the claims process.

But I’d put people onto the JSS.  What do I need to do?

You have some options but all of them fall under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 

If you were putting people on the Job Support Scheme but really did not need them to be doing any work at all then you can now place them back onto furlough.  You still need to follow the initial rules around putting the agreement in writing and getting consent to do this.  It’s unlikely that anyone is going to object but do seek guidance if you face resistance.

Alternatively, if you were putting people on the JSS and did need them to be working part-time then you can place them on part-time furlough in the same way as you could from July under the CJRS.

What support is available under the CJRS?

The CJRS is operating at the same levels that it was operating at in August.

What this means is that employees receive 80% of their salary up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.  The employer can claim back this full 80% up to the cap and only needs to pay employers National Insurance contributions and company pension contributions.  The 80% amount will remain in place until end of January 2021.

As to the level of support that will be offered during February and March, the government has announced that they will review the policy in January.  It is possible that, for these two months, employers will be asked to contribute more towards the scheme which is what was happening in September and October of this year.  For more information, refer to our post on the CJRS rates in September and October.

Note: You are able to furlough people on a part-time basis.

Who is eligible for the CJRS?

Employees who haven’t been furloughed previously can be furloughed now.  The only stipulation is that they must have been on a payroll submission made on or before 30th October 2020.

Is the government going to publish which businesses make claims for CJRS?

Yes.

HMRC is going to publish details of employers who make claims under the extended CJRS scheme from December onwards.  How and where these will be published will be confirmed shortly.

What is happening with the Job Retention Bonus (JRB)?

The Job Retention Bonus was to encourage employers to take people back rather than make them redundant. 

The Job Retention Bonus stated that employees who had been furloughed but who were then returned from furlough and kept on payroll until 31st January 2021 would earn the employer a £1,000 bonus. 

The Job Retention Bonus has been postponed.

The government website states that “a retention incentive will be deployed at the appropriate time” but is silent on any detail of what this may look like.

For more information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:

Coronavirus - Guidance for Employers - Part-Time Furlough - Lighter HR

If you’d like help with the Job Retention Scheme or other Coronavirus matters, contact us on 0203 319 1649 or fill in the form below.

Contact Us
Employee Issues? | Our Expert HR Consultants Can Help You | Lighter HR

If you’d like help with the Job Retention Scheme or other Coronavirus matters, contact us on 0203 319 1649 or fill in the form below.

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