How Do Employers Manage Quarantine After Holidays?

We may have had Freedom Day in the UK but the pandemic is still very much here. What do employers do if employees wish to holiday abroad and how do we manage swift changes in the isolation rules? 

Holidays abroad seemed like a thing of the past for a while until the government introduced a traffic light system which has different procedures for those who wish to travel to another country.

The Traffic Light System

Currently Green countries are those countries which do not require quarantine upon return to the UK.

Amber destinations are deemed to have more risk than Green countries and will require quarantine for people who have not been vaccinated or travel before the rules change on August 16th 2021.

Red destinations are countries which the government has advised against travelling to and require a hotel quarantine period.

But what happens when a country moves suddenly from Green to Amber, Amber to Red or when the rules change at short notice just as they did with Paris?

Banning Staff From Going Abroad

Of course we cannot and would not want to ban staff from travelling abroad. Travelling means different things to different people. For some it is the joy of seeing somewhere new, to others it may mean a long awaited hug from a family member or loved one and for others still it is a matter of business.

It would not be reasonable or appropriate to stop staff from travelling and if it resulted in dismissal it could lead to an unfair dismissal claim.

However we do suggest advising staff that travelling might be at their own financial risk if they are required to isolate.

Do I have to pay staff to Self-Isolate following travel?

The current rules are that staff who are required to self isolate by law are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from Day One of isolation. You can pay more but SSP is the minimum that you must pay.

Can I request that staff work during isolation?

If staff are able to work from home and they are well enough to do so you can ask staff to work from home. If staff are working from home they should receive full pay.

Can I insist that staff attend their place of work during Self Isolation?

As of September 2020 it became illegal for an employer to allow a member of staff to work anywhere but their place of isolation during self isolation. Insisting that a staff member attend work when they should be in quarantine can result in a £10,000 fine for the employer.

Aside from the legalities and the fine, it would also put other staff, service users and clients at risk.

What can I do if my employee asks to use annual leave during self isolation?

There is nothing stopping you allowing a staff member to use annual leave during self isolation. It may well help them financially.

Employers can also request that staff use annual leave at any time providing they give twice as much notice as the leave they would like the employee to take. In real terms this means, 2 days notice for 1 day annual leave or 8 days notice to use 4 days annual leave.

Should I be telling my staff the procedure for self isolation following the holiday?

There is no legal requirement to outline a self- isolation procedure following annual leave but this is good practice. It will help staff know what they should do if they find themselves in a quarantine situation after a holiday. It also helps managers know what they should be doing.

Where can I get HR and Employment Law Support with staff?

You can get free advice from acas and from our newsletters.

We are always happy to help employers with Employment Law, email us at info@orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk or visit our website at www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk to see how we can help you.

Introducing George to Team Orchard

The Orchard Employment Law team is growing and we are really pleased to be able to offer George the opportunity to learn and work as a marketeer within the business. There is nothing quite like practical experience and support.

Prior to George starting with the team all of the marketing was done by CEO Jemma and Executive Assistant Lucy, although they are not marketeers they have learned a lot over the years. In true Orchard style we took the opportunity share our knowledge to help George Kickstart his career.

We asked George to tell us a bit about himself and this was his response:

Tell us about your marketing journey so far.

“I started my marketing journey within the music industry, I would handle the social media side of things with various bands I was a part of. I then decided to study music business in Brighton and quickly realised I had a knack for marketing and decided to pursue things further.

During my time at university, I’d be tasked with promoting gigs for various venues alongside acting as the assistant manager for a couple of bands in the area. But things quickly changed as my course was taken online so I soon began adapting by studying various marketing theories with the help of my tutors.

Within my final year is when I began putting my knowledge to use by working closely with two bands, assisting them with marketing strategies, marketing analysis, content creation. All the while establishing a conversational podcast and the creative responsibilities which come with that for my final year project.”

Tell us a bit more about you as a person.

“I’ve always been a hands-on person so being able to assist Jemma and the rest of the Orchard team in all things marketing is an exciting opportunity.

When I’m not at work you can find me taking part in a few sporting activities whether that’s running long distance, biking about the place or at the climbing gym. But when I’m not moving, I’m most likely eating. I LOVE to cook; I’ve recently discovered the joys of making fresh pasta at home and I’m obsessed!

Alongside all the exercising I’m a music buff, in my late teens I would take up any opportunity to go local gigs and support local bands the best I could. If you were to ask me who my favorite musician is, I’d have real trouble choosing just one!

With that said I enjoy my relaxation time, and to me there is no better way to spend the evening then sitting back and watching a documentary or my favourite stand-up comics.”

Do I Need A Working From Home Policy?

Working from home and Hybrid working has been a normality for some businesses for many years. However, many other businesses began working from home on a much larger scale during the pandemic. As we start to recover from the pandemic some employers have decided to ditch the office altogether whilst others have decided to opt for a Hybrid solution. 

I didn’t have a Working From Home Policy last year, why would I get one now?

Most businesses were not prepared for Boris’ ‘work from home if you can’ announcement in March 2020, but British businesses are adaptable and resilient and we rose to the challenge in a hurry. That meant scrambling for laptops and PC’s, moving documents onto a cloud and a mass rerouting of telephone lines. For many, the legal and security implications were not a consideration but we are still required to follow GDPR ( General Data Protection Regulations), Employment Law and Health and Safety Laws.

Data

You must still ensure that staff data and client data is secure. This can mean you need to consider a number of things such as:

How do staff dispose of documents containing data, will you supply a shredder, a confidential waste bin or require old documents to be returned to the office for safe disposal?

Are staff able to store documents safely in a locked cupboard?

Will they be sharing their computer with other members of their household?

Are they wearing headphones when they are having conversations which include sensitive data?

Is the email and internet usage encrypted?

Health And Safety

Employers are still responsible for the safety of staff whilst they are working from home. This doesn’t mean you need to do a daily home visit but you may well ask staff to carry out a risk assessment. At the very least you will want to ensure that they have the right chair and desk set up.

Who  Will You Allow To Work From Home?

Working from home is not suitable for everybody, some people do not have the space, the internet speed or the desire to work from home. If you are introducing working from home or hybrid working for a selection of staff then you should be able to explain why you have disallowed it for others. A working from home criteria is useful to help avoid discriminating against groups of people.

Expenses and Bills

Working from home can incur additional expenses for staff, your working from home policy should set out who is responsible for bills and expenses.

Avoiding An Us And Them Culture

If some staff are able to work from home whilst others are in the workplace you will need to make an effort to prevent an us and them culture.

You will still want everyone to feel a part of the team and although working from home has many benefits it can mean that staff miss out on general chit chat where friendships are built or they miss out on the social activities which workplaces inspire. It can also lead to resentment from work based staff who would like to work from home. Keep having regular meetings either via video link or in person and team activities to keep the team together.

How do I get a Homeworking Policy

We are able to supply you with and Homeworking and Hybrid working policy for your business. To enquire about our working from home policy contact us at http://www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

Stress Awareness Month

A blog for employers on managing stress in the workplace

April is Stress Awareness Month and each year we discuss reducing stress as well as coping techniques. Over the last year there has been an increase in people feeling stressed in the UK.

Many of the reasons for the increased stress is due to the pandemic but it is important to realise that this has affected people in different ways and for different reasons. Some people have experienced loneliness, homeschooling, zoom fatigue, burnout, reduction or loss in income, shielding, loss of loved ones, illness, long covid, increase in caring responsibilities and more.

Both employers and employees have had to adjust, whether it be to a lack of or abundance of work and many businesses have undergone a change to remote working. 

We have put together some suggestions of how to manage or reduce stress:

  • Stress Risk Assessment

Employers have a legal duty to protect staff from stress in the workplace. The Health and Safety Executive provides a free downloadable stress risk assessment which you can use. You can download it here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/risk-assessment.htm

  • Ask

It sounds simple doesn’t it? However it is easy to get caught up in the day to day things or to think that staff are no longer stressed because the lockdown is easing. Make a point of asking yourself and staff if they are ok. Not just ok in the workplace but ok overall. 

This can be done in formal reviews but can also be done in everyday conversations. 

  • Keep in touch

If you are still remote working as a temporary measure or as permanent measure make an effort to keep in touch. Not working in the same place sometimes means that you don’t see when someone is feeling a bit down. Emails, slack and other forms of business communication can easily just be about business so be intentional about keeping in touch. 

You may choose to have regular video meetings, team catch ups or quizzes, or physically meet up once a month or so.

This can help in fostering a culture where staff feel able to talk if they need to.

  • Monitor the workload

Some businesses have experienced a boom over the last year, others may have made staffing cuts and shared the work amongst the remaining staff. Try not to overload staff with too much work, too much over time can cause burnout which will result in more mistakes, lower quality work and sick days. By looking after your staff you will be looking after your business.

  • Have a shut down time

Being able to work from anywhere at any time sounds amazing but it can lead to us having less time to relax. It can be tempting to send an email at 11pm or on a Sunday morning because we can. The problem with this is that it can mean we don’t get dedicated time where we are not thinking about work. It may also mean that the recipient of that email feels the need to think about work during those unsociable hours. Try to have boundaries which includes a clear shut down time each day.

  • Remind people to take annual leave

This applies to both employers and employees. The ban on non-essential travel and the ability to work from home may mean that staff are less likely to take a break. Encourage staff to use their annual leave. Annual leave is a health and safety measure, it is there to help people to rest and recoup.

  • Training

Managers do not always know how to manage or identify stress in the workplace. You may want to consider stress in the workplace training for managers and their team members.

  • Contact professionals

Even though employers have a duty to protect staff from stress they are not always qualified or equipped to help. 

There are many mental health charities and professionals who can help with workplace wellbeing. You can reach out to them as a manager or colleague or you may choose to signpost staff to them.

Examples include:

Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/

Anxiety UK https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/

We hope you have found this blog useful. We have a number of other blogs on Employment Law and HR topics, you can find these on our website at http://www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

What Does The Budget Mean For Employers?

BUDGET 2021 – KEY POINTS

You will all be aware that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, unveiled his Budget last week.

In this blog, we go through the key points from the Budget and lay out what it means for businesses and employers.

Furlough Extended
The Chancellor announced that the furlough scheme, which was due to end at the end of April 2021, has now been extended until the end of September 2021. Employees placed on furlough will continue to receive 80% of their wages (up to £2,500 per month).

As with previous extensions of the furlough scheme, employers will be expected to contribute towards employees’ wages from July, as follows: –

● 10% in July;
● 20% in August and September.

Employers will also need to continue to meet the cost of National Insurance payments and pension contributions.

Who is Eligible for the Furlough Scheme?
The rules surrounding furlough differ slightly depending on what period the claim is for.

For furlough claims on or before 30th April 2021, to be eligible, the employee must have been on their employer’s PAYE payroll on 30th October 2020. The employer must also have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20th March 2020 and 30th October 2020, thus notifying a payment of earnings.

Employees do not need to have been furloughed previously.

For furlough claims from 1st May 2021 onwards, the employee must have been on their employer’s PAYE payroll on 2nd March 2021. Again, the employer must also have made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20th March 2020 and 2nd March 2021.

Employers are not required to have previously claimed for employees before 2nd March 2021 to claim for periods on or after 1st May 2021.

The employee can be on any type of contract, including zero-hours, fixed-term or temporary.

Can I Re-Employ an Employee Who Has Recently Left or Been Made Redundant?
HMRC has confirmed that some employees can be rehired, and then put on furlough.

For claims on or before 30th April 2021, employers can choose to re-hire any staff made redundant after 23rd September 2020 and put them on furlough, as long as the employer made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC in relation to that employee between 20th March 2020 and 23rd September 2020.

However, for claim periods starting on or after 1st December 2020, employers cannot claim for any days where a furloughed employee was serving a contractual or statutory notice period.

There is no obligation on employers to re-employ staff.

Apprenticeships
A further announcement made by the Chancellor is that the Apprentice grant has been doubled to £3,000 for any business taking on an apprentice under the Government apprenticeship scheme. This is an increase from £1,500.

If you require support with the matters above or any other Employment Law support please feel free to get in touch at http://www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

Employer Responsibilities After Brexit

Now that the UK has officially left the EU, employers may be wondering what if anything they need to do about current and future staff who are  EU nationals. This blog is a whistle stop tour on where we are and what we need to do next.

Audit

The first step is to access whether any of your staff are directly impacted by Brexit. This means doing an audit of your staff to see how many EU nationals you currently have working for you. 

Remind and Encourage

All EU nationals who were in the UK up until 31st December 2020 are able to apply for an imingration status which will allow them to continue to have the right to work and live in the UK. 

There are two types of status which EU nationals can apply for and they are known as Settled and Pre-Settled.

Settled status is available to people who have been in the UK for 5 years or more.  Settled status allows EU nationals to work and live in the UK indefinitely providing they do not leave the UK for a period longer than 5 years.

Pre- Settled status is available to staff who have been in the UK for  less than 5 years. This status gives them the right to work and live in the UK for a temporary period and those with Pre-Settled status can apply to convert their status into Settled status once they have been in the UK for 5 years.

EU nationals have a deadline of 30th June 2021 to apply, employers should inform and gently encourage staff to apply. However, employers should be careful not to harass staff members.

After 30th June employers will need to check that all staff have the right to work.

Check qualifications

If your staff work in a regulated industry you will need to check to see whether their EU qualifications are still valid. In most cases they will be valid but it is still important to check via the .gov.uk website.

Sponsorship

EU nationals who arrived in the uk after 31st December 2020 will need to be sponsored by  a UK employer if they wish to work in the UK.

Employers must have a sponsorship licence in order to sponsor an employee. There is a cost for the licence and it can take up to 8 weeks for the licence to be approved.

If you currently have staff who require sponsorship or you have a business model which employs foreign nationals it is a good idea to apply for this licence early. You should note that sponsorship is not transferable so you cannot rely on sponsorship provided by a previous employer.

Staff who require sponsorship will be subject to a minimum earnings threshold of £25,600 per year and must be doing a job which has a minimum qualification entry of A levels or equivalent.

The minimum earnings threshold is reduced to £20,480 if the job is listed on the shortage occupation list.

There are also a number of other criteria which the employee or worker must meet in order to be eligible for sponsorship.

Need further information?

We hope that you have found this blog useful, if you require specific information about anything in the blog or any other Employment Law or HR matter please feel free to contact us at http://www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

FAQ’s From Employers In Another National Lockdown

Here we go again.. although we had all hoped that lockdowns were limited to 2020 the latest announcement of the prime minister on the 4th January saw the nation back in lockdown.

In this blog we will answer some employer frequently asked questions.

My business is not allowed to open, what do I do with my staff?

The furlough scheme will remain open with the government contributing 80% of pay to staff. There is no legal requirement for employers to furlough staff as it is entirely at your discretion. However, in an ideal world  you will want to keep all of your staff as it is better for them, it also will allow you trade as soon as your business is allowed to.

Remember that there is no automatic right to furlough staff and that you may need a written agreement. For more information read our blog Furlough Explained here: https://orchardemploymentlaw.wordpress.com/2020/03/25/furlough-explained

Although furlough is the preferred option for most employers and staff it is not free. The employer may still have to spend time or pay for someone to do the furlough administration.  Employers still have to consider pension contributions, national insurance, tax, accrual of annual leave and possibly employees gaining an extra years service which could have cost implications in the future. 

I cannot afford to furlough staff what can I do?

If you cannot afford to furlough your staff or you choose not too you may need to make redundancies.

Nobody likes to make redundancies but with ongoing costs such as rent, tax and insurances and little to no income you might not have much choice. There are rules and processes  around redundancies including, how much notice you should give, who can be selected and how meetings should be conducted. Always seek advice before making redundancies.

We are holding a webinar on how to conduct redundancies, you can Friday 22nd January you can email us for information on info@orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk or book using the following link:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/135518029073

We are a business which is allowed to open, do I have to let my staff work from home?

The national lockdown guidance is that all those who can work from home should work from home.

There are obvious positions where staff will not be able to work from home such as construction, engineering, child care, retail, manufacturing and the list goes on. In these instances staff will not be allowed to work from home.

As an employer you have a duty to keep your staff safe, this may extend to protecting them from catching Covid19 in the workplace wherever possible. So, if your staff are able to work from home effectively and productively you should allow them to do so.

That being said, not all job roles can be done effectively from home. They may be required to be physically present to open post, respond immediately to situations or you might not have the infrastructure to allow them to work from home.

The guidance may also vary person to person as well as job role to job role. You are still able to expect a reasonable output from staff and if a staff member is not productive or effective when working from home they might not have this option.

It is important to remember that fear of catching coronavirus can be a genuine concern and should be treated sensitively. You should try to reduce risks in the workplace such as social distancing, heightened hygiene and providing screens.  If staff are still unable to come to work you may consider other options such as using annual leave, unpaid leave or furlough. It is better to seek advice on a case by case basis and each situation will be different.

My staff are unproductive because they are homeschooling as well as working from home, what are my options?

In the first instance try to be understanding, working from home around dependents is no easy task. Maybe you could agree to a more flexible work pattern to allow staff to manage home and children. An example of this might be allowing staff to start earlier or later in the day, compressing their hours or reducing their hours. 

Any agreement is just that and should be done by consent.

Even the most understanding employer can still require work to be done accurately and productively if staff are unable to work productively at home you may want to consider using furlough or asking staff to use either parental leave or annual leave.

Be careful because you do not want to accidentally discriminate against women who are known to be more likely to  have the burden of childcare.

I have some staff members who can work from home but want to attend work, are they allowed to?

This is a matter for employers to decide, there will be some individuals who want to attend work for mental wellbeing reasons or because they do not feel able to work from home. If you are able to reduce risks in the workplace by making the environment Covid secure you are able to allow them to work from the office.

What about staff who are shielding?

Shielding came back into action on 4th January 2020 for the most vulnerable members of society. Staff who are shielding should have received a letter from a medic or the NHS informing them that are to shield which means that she should not leave home.

If staff are told to shield employers should not expect them to work away from their home. If they can work from home you should allow them to do so. If they are unable to work from home you can either put them om furlough or Statutory Sick Pay, staff also have the option of using annual leave.

We hope that you found this blog useful, if you did please share it with someone else who may benefit from reading this.

This blog is general information and is not intended to substitute advice, if you would like specific advice or support with Employment Law you can contact us via our website at http://www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

Reflecting On 2020

Here we are again in the final month of the year but  we can honestly say that this year has been like no other.

At Orchard Employment Law we have been a socially distanced shoulder to cry on, a virtual ear, a supporter of those businesses who have experienced growth and have had to keep up Employment Law changes which seemed to change almost monthly. We deciphered phrases like furlough, job support scheme and job retention scheme and tried to be there whenever we were needed.

We have seen some of our colleagues and clients struggle both personally and in business. Missing their loved ones, working from home whilst homeschooling, feeling the challenge of limited or no work or an increased demand for which they had not planned for. It is not all doom and gloom, we have also witnessed some amazing business pivots and even business mergers. Best of all community spirit has been wonderful and we have all learned to appreciate some of the simpler things in life.

Our team has grown to include Natalie one of our HR advisors. Lucy celebrated her 3rd year at Orchard. We also moved into a bigger office but ironically have spent much of the year working from home and it is fair to say that Jemma’s speaking skills have been in demand.

Jemma started the year by speaking at Olympia, a well known venue in London. By March it seemed as though business events would be a thing of the past but event planners and delegates across the UK moved to host some of the biggest digital events we had ever seen. It has been amazing to see how resilient and creative people can be. This resulted in Jemma speaking at over 20 events this year.

At this time of year we would usually be talking to readers about planning for the new calendar year however, we know that for many there is too much uncertainty for grand plans. 

So with that in mind we just want to wish you a Merry Christmas and hope for a happy New year.

Seven Tips for Working From Home

Seven Tips for Working Remotely

Some call it Lockdown 2.0 others call it the second lockdown but one thing is for sure and that is that more workplaces will go back to remote working, we have Seven tips for those staff who are working from home, and how to effectively manage your team remotely: –

  1. Don’t Forget About Data And GDPR

Out of sight may be out of mind but it is important to remember your legal obligations around data. It is also just as important to remind staff about data protection. This may include making sure that they they have headphones if they are taking phone calls in the presence of others. Making provisions for the disposal of confidential waste, this could include investing in a shredder and not leaving their computer or laptop open when they step away from their desk.

2. Set Up A Designated Workplace

It is important that staff try as much as possible to keep their workspace separate from their home space.

If they have space, a home office, spare bedroom, or some other dedicated area that offers privacy is the best option.

This way, work can be separated from home life more easily. It will help staff to focus on their work and not be distracted by the little jobs that always need doing around the home. It also means that they will be able to enjoy their down time without thinking about work.

3. Work Safely with Equipment

Employers are still responsible for the health and safety of employees and whilst you cannot pop round to their homes, you can talk to them about protecting their health.

One easy thing you can do is to ask your staff to complete a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) questionnaire. You can find this here https://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/dse/ and it is free to fill in.

Remote working also may mean that your staff are working around the kitchen table, on an ironing board or some other makeshift office space. This is not always good for posture and it is, therefore, important to remind staff to take regular breaks and stretch their muscles

4.Keep Connected

Remote working can get lonely and we all know that of a lot of people have suffered with their mental health over recent months.

It is, therefore,  important for employees to stay connected with each other as well as the boss.

Hold regular video meetings or phone calls to keep in touch with everyone. Ask staff what they are working on and encourage them to share what’s on their minds.

We know that video meetings are not a substitute for human contact but they are still very good. Most people communicate with more than just words – we use eye contact, facial expressions and other forms of body language to convey how we are feeling.

We have found that daily video meetings with the whole team each morning have been helpful in building and maintaining a working and personal relationship

5.Be Clear About Your Expectations

Everyone thrives on structure, including your staff. Employees will have core hours that they are expected to work. It is important to remind staff of this and that they are expected to stick to their core hours as much as possible.

Of course, this may not always be possible but staff should communicate with management if they are experiencing difficulties in this area.

Be clear and realistic about your expectations; this is not a chance for staff to make unreasonable mistakes, be rude to customers or to spend very little time working. If staff are struggling to work in their normal hours then consider moving their hours temporarily; you may get more output early in the morning or late in the evening.

Remember though that you may still need to look at capability or disciplinary procedures.

6.Get dressed

Encourage staff to get up and get dressed as if the day were a normal working day and they were commuting to their workplace.

Changing into work clothes can help staff to mentally prepare for the day and make the switch from home life to work mode, and will also help to distinguish between ‘homeworking’ and ‘home life’.

This will be a personal choice though, we all know someone who will work in smart jacket and pyjama bottoms.

7.Ask for Help and Support

Remember to ask for help and/or support when you need it. These times are tough for us all and we all need to support each other as much as possible

You should also encourage your staff to talk to you and ask for further support and guidance if needed.

Remember that you are all part of a team and should be supporting each other as much as possible, especially remotely.

We hope these tips are of use to you. If you have other tips that you find successful, please do share them with us.

We are hear to help with Employment Law and HR. If you have further questions or you are in need of some support you can contact us at http://www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

Unpicking the Job Support Scheme

Orchard Employment Law provide answers to some frequently asked questions.

Both Employers and employees have been concerned about the future of jobs once the Furlough scheme ends on the 31st October so it is no surprise that people were eagerly awaiting the announcement of the new job support scheme. 

We bring you answers to some frequently asked questions.

What is the Job Support Scheme in a nutshell?

This scheme will allow employers to reduce staff hours and to claim some monies from the government.

All small and medium businesses will be eligible to use the scheme but large businesses will only be able to claim if they can show that their turnover has reduced as a result of the pandemic.

How many hours must an employee work to be eligible for the scheme?

Under the new scheme the employees work at least at least one third of the employees normal hours. The minimum hour requirement might increase after January 2021.

What will I have to pay as an employer?

As an employer you will be required to pay national insurance and pensions. You will also have to pay 100% of the hours which the employee works.

You will also have to contribute towards the hours which the employee does not work. Your total contribution will vary depending on the percentage of time the employee works. The total minimum contribution from an employer (including hours worked) will be 55% but it could be as much as 80%.

Just as with furlough, it is likely that the employee will be on a reduced salary on the job support scheme.

Can I use the scheme on a new employee?

Employees who been employed on of after the 23rd of September 2020 are eligible for the scheme.

What if the employee has not been furloughed in the past?

There is no requirement for the business to have used furlough in the past or for the employee to have been furloughed before.

Can I rotate staff on the scheme?

Yes, you can rotate staff  on and off the job retention scheme but they must be on the scheme for a minimum of 7 days at a time.

Is there an automatic right to put an employee on the scheme?

No, as this will be a reduction in wages you will need to check your contracts to see whether or not you have the right to reduce pay. If you do not have the right to reduce pay you should negotiate with your staff and have a written agreement for them to be on the scheme. We recommend you take advice on this so as not to end up with a claim against you.

You should also have clear and transparent reasons as to who is put on the scheme and who isn’t. You are still required to follow UK employment laws and this means not discriminating against people.

Will I still be able to make redundancies if I use the scheme?

You will still be able to make redundancies but you cannot use the scheme during the notice period. Employees should receive their full redundancy and notice pay (pre furlough and job support scheme.

Do I have to use the scheme instead of using redundancies or lay off?

No, there is no obligation for an employer to use the job support scheme.

Can we contact you for support?

Yes, we provide advice and support to employers  with all HR and Employment Law matters. You can contact us at www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk