Ending furlough – what’s next for employers?

The end of October brings many things – Halloween, the end of British Summer Time, Black History Month and for employers, the end of the Job Retention Scheme or ‘furlough’ as we’ve affectionately come to know it.

So, what’s next for employers in terms of support with their employee costs if their business is being affected by COVID19? And, how do they ‘end’ furlough? In this post, our Head of HR explores the options.

Job Retention Scheme

The furlough scheme closes on 31st October and the deadline for submitting claims up to and including 31st October is 30th November 2020.

Approximately £219m has been repaid to HMRC for claims made in error and HMRC have stated they will not investigate those companies who have reported errors.  You had until 20th October to correct any errors you may have made in claiming for furlough so please ensure your decisions for claiming are well documented and you are comfortable with any claims made.

Returning from furlough – don’t forget to ‘resurrect’ any procedures that were put on hold for individuals due to furlough e.g. probationary periods, disciplinaries or grievances. And don’t forget that those returning from furlough will have been out of the business for a while so a return ‘induction’ may be helpful.

Job Retention bonus

This is a scheme where if you had someone on furlough but you have returned them to work and you keep them in work (and working and being paid at a minimum level between key dates) until 31st January 2021, you can claim a job retention bonus of £1,000.  You will be able to claim it between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021 and the government have now released more details on how to claim – Check if you can claim

Job Support Scheme

On 24th September, the Chancellor announced some welcome help for businesses and employees coming into force from 1st November after the Job Retention Scheme finishes on 31st October – Job support scheme

The government have released a helpful factsheet on how the Job Support scheme will work and how to claim – Job support scheme factsheet

This scheme is running from 1st November for 6 months and the employee needs to be on RTI before 23rd September.  You need to bear in mind that if you utilise this scheme, you cannot make an employee on the scheme redundant during this 6 months.

The Scheme was updated on 12th October to expand it to support businesses who are legally required to shut for some period over the winter as part of a local or national restriction at an enhanced level.  This scheme is being updated on an on-going basis and some detail is still missing so keep an eye out.

Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create 6-month job placements for 16 to 24 year olds who are currently unemployed and claiming Universal Credit – Kickstart Scheme 

The placement needs to be a new role with a minimum of 25 hours per week, paying at least the National Minimum Wage applicable for their age and does not need extensive training; the grant covers 100% of the wage of the person plus associated NI and Employer pension contributions.

SSP

SSP is still payable from day 1 if an employee is absent for COVID related reasons.  The government website clearly explains the categories where SSP is payable (and there are quite a few) so please refresh to ensure you are paying correctly and you can claim back SSP if you have fewer than 250 employees. If an employee needs to self-isolate, they need to produce an isolation note for the purposes of you processing SSP.


Lisa Trent is our HR guru

There really isn’t very much to do with people that she doesn’t know about! Whether it’s furloughing or people management, she’s on hand to help, but also listen.

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