Taylor Walton Coronavirus Update – November 2020

1. Extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“furlough”)

As you will be aware, over the weekend, the Prime Minister announced a second national lockdown which will commence on Thursday 5 November 2020 and is expected to last until 2 December 2020.

This means that many businesses will be forced to close.  Other businesses may experience a reduction in demand for their products and services which is likely to have an impact on how many staff they need at work during the lockdown period.

The Government recognises that the lockdown will have a significant impact on businesses and has therefore agreed to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“the Scheme”) until December.  This means that the Scheme did not end on 31 October 2020 as expected and that the introduction of the new Job Support Scheme has been postponed “until the furlough scheme ends”.

The Government’s announcement on the extended furlough scheme can be viewed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/furlough-scheme-extended-and-further-economic-support-announced

Further details relating to the extended Scheme (including how to claim) are expected to be released shortly.  At the current time, the following information is available:

  • The Government has stated that the extended Scheme will broadly operate as the previous scheme did.  This is likely to mean that employers will need to agree with employees to place them on furlough and record this agreement in writing.   For employees who have been notified that they will be placed onto the Job Support Scheme, this may need to be replaced with furlough arrangements.  We are able to assist you with preparation of appropriate furlough agreements.
  • There will be no gap in eligibility for support between the previously announced end-date of the Scheme and this extension.  This means an employee can continue to be furloughed during the first part of the week, before the lockdown measures come in to effect.
  • All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant.   However, to be eligible for the grant, employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30th October 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30th October 2020.
  • There is no requirement for the employer or the employee to have previously made use of the Scheme.
  • Flexible and full time furlough arrangements will be permitted. Employers can claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working, calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period.
  • Employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days when making a claim.
  • The grant will cover 80% of eligible wages for unworked hours up to a cap if £2,500.  Employers will be obliged to cover pension contributions and employer National Insurance Contributions.  This mirrors the level of support available in August 2020.
  • Employers can top up wages to normal levels if they wish to do so.

We will update this note when further information on the extension of the Scheme becomes available.  If you require any assistance with extension or implementation of furlough arrangements please contact the Taylor Walton Employment Department – contact details below.

 

2. Business Grants

In addition to the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant.

Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

Further details on how to claim business support grants will be made available through the gov.uk website.

Taylor Walton’s employment team are available to assist employers with matters relating to the extended furlough scheme and furlough written agreements. If you have any queries relating to the issues raised in this guidance note, please contact Alec Colson in the first instance on 07711 589574 or alec.colson@taylorwalton.co.uk.