As the Furlough scheme winds down on 31 October, most employers will be gearing up to open their doors once more and/or considering engaging in the Chancellor’s recently extended Job Support Scheme (‘JSS’).

The JSS set the backdrop for a series of announcements and legislative changes to assist employers as the nation firefights against the pandemic and a much feared ‘second wave’.

But what do these changes mean for your business? Are you prepared for the end of Furlough? Will your employees be returning to the office? Are you aware of the implications if you fall foul of the Government’s new regulations?

As the pandemic continues and regulations constantly change – our employment team summarises the key considerations you need to be aware of ahead of 31 October and beyond.

Update to Job Support Scheme (‘JSS’) - JSS Open and JSS Closed

The JJS, the Chancellor’s much-anticipated successor to the Furlough scheme, was amended yesterday (22 October) in readiness for the national tiered lockdown measures which are likely to be enforced over winter months. 
The JSS will be rolled out two-fold: JSS Open and JSS Closed. JSS Closed is specific to businesses which have been required to close under lockdown regulations.
It is important to note that the JSS has its own distinct rules and eligibility criteria. How does this work in practice?  For more details on how the scheme will work in practice, how to qualify for the scheme, and how to claim, please see a detailed update by our team on the JSS https://www.curzongreen.co.uk/about-us/articles/589-furlough-scheme-mark-2-what-do-you-need-to-do-now.html. 

Please do not hesitate to contact our specialist team for specific advice on the JSS and whether it can help support jobs in your business.

Job Retention Bonus

The Job Retention Bonus is available to employers in relation to each employee who has: (i) been subject to an eligible claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; and (ii) remains continuously employed (and is not serving a contractual or statutory notice) on 31 January 2021. A ‘bonus’ is also claimable for any employee whose wages are covered by the JSS.
The effect of this scheme is that HMRC will make a one-off taxable payment of £1,000 for each eligible employee, as a ‘bonus’ to the business – meaning you do not need to pay this money to your employee(s).
To receive the ‘bonus’ you must havemade an eligible claim for the relevant employee(s) through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and paid a salary of at least £1,560 (gross) to the employee between 6 November 2020 and 5 February 2021.
A claim for the ‘bonus’ will need to be presented between 15 February and 31 March 2021. This is only a 6-week window. Watch this space for further guidance on the process for making a claim, which is due in January 2021.

Return to work – is your workforce prepared and is it safe for them to return? Updates to health and safety legislation

We appreciate that for many, the JSS will not be viable and 31 October 2020 will mark a return to work for the workforce, subject to government guidelines at the time.

 Legal duties as an employer:
What if an employee refuses to attend the office on health and safety grounds?
What does this mean for employers?
Practical steps to take:
The Self-Isolation Regulations – what should you do if an employee is self-isolating?
 
Next steps beyond 31 October 2020.

For any employers looking to open their doors once more, post-furlough, there is a lot to consider.
It is of key importance to ensure that robust risk assessments and watertight health and safety policies are in place for those gearing up to return to work.

For specialist advice and assistance, or for bespoke drafting please do not hesitate to contact our experienced employment team at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This update has been prepared based on the information available and the Government guidance as at the time of writing (23 October 2020). We would advise you to consult the latest government guidance or contact our team for up to date advice.