COVID-19: Job Retention Scheme UK Gov Guidance April 15th 2020

By Nic Hart & Liam Hutton

15.04.2020

Another week and another set of Guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has just been released today, April 15th 2020.

In addition, there has also just been a Treasury Direction released this afternoon (April 15th 2020).

UK Gov Updated Guidance

I will first deal with the 4th Guidance issued by the Government. Details on this as follows.

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COVID-19: Job Retention Scheme UK Gov update April 10th 2020

By Nic Hart & Liam Hutton

20.04.2020

Last night the Government helpfully delivered Round 3 of the Guidance for employers (and employees) on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Whilst it clarifies some areas and introduces new points, i.e. TUPE it remains silent on the issue of Annual Leave. Please find below an overview of the new Guidance. It is worth reading in its entirety and I attach a copy of the same with the new areas noted in red and highlighted.

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Companies House – Key COVID-19 Procedural Changes

By Thomas Rainey

08.04.2020

Although the onus remains on company officers to comply with their filing duties notwithstanding the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis, Companies House have made a number of procedural changes to help keep their services running as smoothly as possible.

Below is a summary of the key service alterations adopted by Companies House:

Companies House – Offices

The London, Edinburgh and Belfast Companies House offices are currently closed to the public, with the London office also not receiving post. The Cardiff office remain open 24 hours a day for the receipt of documents.

All same-day services have been suspended until further notice.

Additionally, Companies House telephone contact centre is closed. All enquiries should be sent by email to enquiries@companieshouse.gov.uk.

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Family Leave and Furlough

By Nic Hart & Liam Hutton

03.04.2020

The UK Government guidance sets out the employers obligations for family leave and the ability to claim for enhanced (earnings related) contractual pay through the scheme. As below;

Individuals who are on or plan to take Maternity Leave must take at least 2 weeks off work (4 weeks if they work in a factory or workshop) immediately following the birth of their baby. This is a health and safety requirement. In practice, most women start their Maternity Leave before they give birth.

If your employee is eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance, the normal rules apply, and they are entitled to claim up to 39 weeks of statutory pay or allowance.

Employees who qualify for SMP, will still be eligible for 90% of their average weekly earnings in the first 6 weeks, followed by 33 weeks of pay paid at 90% of their average weekly earnings or the statutory flat rate (whichever is lower). The statutory flat rate is currently £148.68 a week, rising to £151.20 a week from April 2020.

If you offer enhanced (earnings related) contractual pay to women on Maternity Leave, this is included as wage costs that you can claim through the scheme.

The same principles apply where your employee qualifies for contractual adoption, paternity or shared parental pay.

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Data Protection and COVID-19: FAQs on the Approach of European Regulators

By John Benjamin and Edward Pickard

01.04.2020

The spreading COVID-19 pandemic across Europe has meant that many of its data protection authorities have faced questions from organisations as to how they should meet their privacy obligations during this time.

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has now published its own guidance to ensure that a consistent approach is taken across Europe regarding privacy compliance during this period. However, this came after a number of national regulators published their own guidance that in some cases is slightly contradictory.

The below article considers some of the key issues that may be facing during the COVID-19 pandemic and how the EDPB and some of Europe’s data protection authorities approach these issues. The EDPB has made clear that it is business as usual when it comes to compliance.

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New COVID-19 UK Government Financing Options Available

By Drew D. Salvest & Natalie A. Stewart

31.03.2020

The UK government recently announced a package of measures to provide liquidity to UK businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two schemes are particularly useful for financing needs: the HM Treasury and the Bank of England COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility and the British Business Bank Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Our Alert provides summaries of the financing schemes, eligibility requirements and the application process.

HM Treasury and the Bank of England COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Who Is Eligible?

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Top Tips: Keeping Data Safe When Working Remotely

By John M. Benjamin & Edward Pickard

30.03.2020

The coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on businesses right across the globe and with a third of the world now in lockdown, thousands of businesses have moved most of their workforce to remote working. Although working from home allows a business to continue operating, it brings significant security risks, placing a greater need to maintain compliance with relevant data security requirements.

Maintaining the security of company data is the responsibility of both the employer and employee and continuing to maintain appropriate security measures is critical at this time. Below are some key points for employees and businesses to keep data secure when working remotely.

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Coronavirus and Construction in the UK: The Time to Talk Is Now

By Steve Nichol and Tanya Chadha

In an industry of seemingly ever-tighter margins across the board, it is perhaps unsurprising that the construction industry has fought to continue through the current coronavirus crisis as much as it has.  However, many in the industry have stopped work and shut down sites and, despite the current and perhaps somewhat over-optimistic view from the government that work can continue whilst still complying with social distancing rules, it seems inevitable that all non-essential work will stop very soon.

As work grinds to a halt, it is increasingly clear that in the vast majority of projects, contracts will not provide a straightforward answer to most of the questions that will arise from the shutdown. There will be many grey areas and a significant risk of extensive disputes. To avoid this, or at least limit the scope of those disputes, parties need to be communicating these issues and discussing approaches and solutions now. Continue reading “Coronavirus and Construction in the UK: The Time to Talk Is Now”

COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme – Update March 26th 2020

By Nic Hart & Liam Hutton

26.03.2020

The UK Government’s COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme is available to any large or small employer. Furlough leave is short term temporary leave. The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1 and cover all UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme.

The government will pay cash grants (grants will be received from HMRC) of 80 per cent of an employee’s wages up to a cap of £2,500, providing the worker is kept employed.

At present the scheme will be open initially for at least 3 months but the government has indicated it will extend it for longer if necessary. There is no limit on the amount of funding available for the scheme.

Government expectation is that the first grants will be paid within weeks and HMRC are aiming to get this done before the end of April. There are no existing systems set up to facilitate payments to employers at this time.

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Furlough Leave – The UK Government’s COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme

By Nic Hart

23.03.2020

Last week the UK Government announced that it would be providing support for businesses through the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’. Under this scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. ‘Laid off’ in this context will mean in general rather than in the technical sense.

As at the time of writing (23 March 2020 – 9:30am), the Guidance remains limited on the scheme, particularly in relation to its administration. However, we have tried to best summarise the current position below.

 The Scheme

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

It is not clear at this stage whether this is a cap on £2,500 gross salary or cap on net payment, but indications are from reading current guidance on this is that this will be the net salary cap.

Employees guidance is that they should not undertake work, will remain employed and on the payroll and that the employer can make up the 20% shortfall but this will be at the employers discretion.

The scheme will be backdated to 1 March 2020 and will run for an initial three months from that date. The Government have stated that the scheme will be extended if necessary.

 Eligibility

All UK businesses are eligible. The guidance currently does not state any limitation to this, so it will apply to limited companies, LLPs, Partnerships, charities, sole traders etc.

Continue reading “Furlough Leave – The UK Government’s COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme”

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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