COVID-19 Update 12 May - CJRS and returning to work guidance - Wright Vigar
 In Advice, Blog, News

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Following an address to the Commons, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an extension of the furlough scheme to end of October.

More detail will be released by the end of May, but the details in brief are:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until end of October
  • furloughed workers across UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500
  • new flexibility will be introduced from August to get employees back to work and boost economy

From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

No detail has been announced yet as to the post 31 July system, and whether the reductions in Government funding will be automatically applied or pro-rata the part-time hours worked etc

Read more

HMRC have also issued some further guidance and clarification, before the next claims, in order to save time and speed up payment. Read our blog here.

Guidance on returning to work 

Amid much speculation about what ‘Alert’ means, the Government has released guidance for a range of workplaces on how to restart their businesses after lockdown while ensuring employees and customers remain as safe as possible.

The over-riding message is stay at home as much as possible, including working from home where that is feasible, but employers need to consider the costs and changes required and if it is appropriate to re-open their workplaces.

The eight guides cover a range of different workplace settings, from outdoor work to factories and offices, and businesses operating a range of different types are advised to use as many of the guides as they need.

The guidance follows the Prime Minister’s statement on Sunday that those who cannot work from home should be “actively encouraged” to go to work in England – although advice is different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Those who can work from home are still advised to do so under the new directions, which apply to businesses currently open and organisations that may be part of a “phased re-opening” from June 1. Further guidance for other sectors is to be published later.

Several common themes run through each piece of guidance, including the need to maintain social distancing of two metres where possible, cleaning more frequently and carrying out coronavirus risk assessments to see what measures are needed. Workplaces with more than 50 employees are expected to publish the results of such assessments. Organisations of all sizes will be subject to ‘spot inspections’ to check they are keeping employees safe, and potential fines if they are not.

Office-based workplaces are asked to consider staggering arrival, break and departure times to reduce crowding, installing one-way systems, screens, barriers or floor tape to maintain social distancing and to avoid hot desking.

The guidance recommends additional cleaning processes for “high-contact” objects like handles and keyboards, and employers should provide hand washing and sanitisers at entry or exit points. Wearing a face covering in an enclosed space such as an office remains optional and is not required by law.

The eight Guides can be accessed:

Along with the workplace guidance, the government also issued frequently asked questions guidance relating to the broader recovery strategy published by the Government on Monday. This includes sections on going to work and workers’ rights.

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