We round up the latest employment news.
Parents returning to work after maternity leave can be furloughed after 10 June
Anyone who hasn’t been furloughed for at least three weeks between 1 March and 30 June can’t be furloughed from the 1 July.
But following pressure from
Maternity Action, the government has confirmed that anyone who’s returned to work after 10 June from maternity, shared parental, adoption, paternity or parental bereavement leave can still be furloughed. This only applies if their employer has already furloughed any other employee for at least three weeks between 1 March and 30 June, and the returner was on their payroll on or before 19 March 2020. Employers will not be penalised for genuine mistakes when claiming furlough payments
HMRC have indicated they’ll be lenient on businesses which make genuine mistakes when claiming furlough. However, those who deliberately claim for staff who are working will face penalties and criminal prosecution.
You can read our guidance for businesses claiming furlough. Coronavirus: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate scheme now open
Back in March, the government announced that small employers with fewer than 250 employees could recover some of their SSP costs linked to staff absence caused by COVID-19.
You can access the rebate system here.
To submit your claim, you’ll need:
The number of employees you’re claiming for
Start and end dates of your claim period
The total amount of coronavirus related SSP you’ve paid to your employees for the claim period – this should not exceed the
weekly rate of SSP that’s set Your Government Gateway user ID and password that you received when you registered for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Online
Your employer PAYE reference number
The contact name and phone number of someone HMRC can contact
Your UK bank or building society account details.
You’ll also need to retain records for three years from the date your receive reimbursement.
Government explains how holiday entitlement and pay operates during COVID-19
The government has published
guidance on holiday entitlement and pay during coronavirus. It includes sections on furloughed staff and deferring holiday into another holiday year.
read our summary of the latest government guidance on holiday entitlement and pay. UK businesses planning to repay furlough grants
A number of UK businesses have said they’ll repay furlough grants to the government to reflect that their trading conditions haven’t been as bad as anticipated. For example,
the Telegraph media group remained profitable despite the coronavirus, and all employees have returned to work.
Ikea have also said they’ll repay furlough grants in nine countries (excluding the UK because it didn’t use the grant when it furloughed staff). Dyson criticised for return to work plan
Engineering firm Dyson told staff to return to work in May and then cancelled the plan “after a mutiny among dismayed employees”, according to the
Guardian newspaper. Many members of staff had been working from home successfully and argued they should continue to do so in line with the government's advice to work from home if possible – guidance that's still in place despite the easing of some of the lockdown rules.
Around 2,500 employees were sent an email on Friday 15 May, after business hours, informing them to return to work the following week. It said that the company had reopened its UK campus in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, and that staff would be divided into two rotating teams, alternating between home and office working.
Many members of staff complained, and the company was forced to withdraw the instruction. This episode appears to have damaged the goodwill between Dyson and some of its staff, and demonstrates that organisations must plan ahead, keep staff informed of their plans and follow government guidance before re-opening.
No current plans to commence emergency volunteering leave
The Coronavirus Act 2020 sets out provisions allowing certain workers to take unpaid statutory emergency volunteering leave to volunteer in the NHS and other social care settings. But the Department of Health and Social Care have said there are no immediate plans to bring these rights into practice because the system has coped without volunteers.
Some apprentices can return to training
The Department for Education has updated its guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers, end-point assessment (EPA) organisations and external quality assurance providers about
changes to apprenticeships caused by coronavirus. The most recent update on 2 June 2020 adds information on:
Apprentices returning to work
Returning to undertake EPA within assessment centres or to train in an educational setting
Payments to training providers
New EPA flexibilities.
TUC calls for workers not to be penalised for self-isolating
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called on the government to make sure all workers have financial support to comply with self-isolation requirements under the NHS Test and Trace scheme. The TUC believes inadequate sick pay could stop people acting on public health requests to self-isolate. To counter this, it’s calling for the government to bring in emergency legislation to ensure that:
Statutory sick pay (SSP) covers all employees
SSP is increased to £325 per week
Employers are subject to a legal duty not to penalise workers who are required to self-isolate.
Review into employment rights for domestic abuse survivors
Business Minister Paul Scully has a launched a
review of employment rights for survivors of domestic abuse. This will determine what actions can be taken to help these individuals in the workplace.
The review forms part of the government’s wider approach to combat domestic abuse, and seeks views on the availability of flexible working and unplanned leave for domestic abuse survivors. The review will also consider how employers can tackle economic abuse.
The deadline for written submissions is 9 September 2020.
Figures reveal increase in employment tribunal claims
The government has published its quarterly
employment tribunal statistics for January to March 2020. These show an 18% increase in the numbers of single claims issued compared with the same quarter in 2019.
Of the 10,663 single claims issued in that three-month period, the most common types of complaint were for unfair dismissal, unauthorised deductions from wage claims, and claims under the Working Time Regulations.
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