Support for Employers

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) - Support for Employers

In addition to financial assistance, new measures have been introduced to support businesses with employees through this difficult time. We have listed below the key points of each scheme as we understand it.

Kickstart Scheme for Employers

The Kickstart Scheme can be used to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements should support the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.

Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.

Funding is available following a successful application process. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number.

North Devon businesses looking to create fewer than 30 job placements can register their interest with the North Devon Council Economic Development Team via email at economicdevelopment@northdevon.gov.uk. If they receive enough enquiries from similar businesses, they will help bring together a joint application made up of those businesses. 

For further information on the scheme, including details about how multiple businesses can submit a partnership application, visit the Government's Kickstart website.

Article added 10th September 2020

List of Kickstart Gateway Organisations published

The Government has published a list of organisations, such as Local Authorities and other agencies who have registered as potential Kickstart Gateway Organisations to coordinate partnership applications. Visit the Kickstart Gateway website 

Article added 21st September 2020

 

NHS Test & Trace – Guidance for Employers

The NHS test and trace service will help to manage the risk of the virus re-emerging as restrictions on everyday life are eased, as far as it is deemed safe to do so.

It is vital that employers play their part by:
• making their workplaces as safe as possible
• encouraging workers to heed any notifications to self-isolate and supporting them when in isolation

For further information and guidance, visit Test & Trace Guidance

Article added 1st June 2020

Returning to work – workplace safety

The government has published Guidance for Businesses to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating safely.

Article added 13th May 2020

The Health & Safety Executive has also produced two guides:

HSE Guide to Working Safely

HSE Guide to Talking With Your Workers

Article updated 29th May 2020

Claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

If you’re an employer who pays more than the current rate of SSP you can only claim the current rate amount.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:

  • have Coronavirus
  • cannot work because they are self-isolating at home

Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim.

For further information visit the Government’s Statutory Sick Pay Rebate website, which includes a link to the online application process.

Article updated 26th May 2020

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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furloughing staff)

The CJRS (furloughing) application system went live on 20th April, and the government has launched a Step-by-Step Guide on how to apply.

Furlough extension

The Chancellor has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October.

For more information about the eligibility criteria and application process, refer to HMRC Guidance.

Article updated 13th May 2020

Flexible Furlough Scheme started on 1st July

Businesses will have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work part time from 1 July as part of the government’s plan to re-open the UK and kick-start our economy.

Firms will have the flexibility to decide the hours and shift patterns of their employees – with the government continuing to pay 80% of salaries for the hours they do not work. For further information go the Government's Job Retention Scheme website

Article added 2nd July 2020

 

Furlough Letter (& Work Authorisation Letter)

Make UK have published Letter Templates for use when placing staff on Furlough or for use by staff working for you in case they are stopped on the way to work by police asking if their journey is necessary

ACAS have also produced their own Furlough Letter Templates

 

Additional links and resources relating to the Furlough Process

Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert has prepared a list of 12 furloughing need-to-knows for employees and small firms.

 

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ACAS Webinars

ACAS are running online webinars which will outline practical measures that can be taken and provides details of Government support and resources being made available to employers. Register your place here

You can also register to watch the latest coronavirus advisory webinar here. Information in webinar recordings is correct at the time of recording.

Good Practice - Steps for Employers


Acas
Live Twitter Q&A sessions coronavirus advice live on Twitter

Join Acas experts every Friday at 10:30am to chat live on Twitter about your questions or concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to employment issues such as time off work, pay, remote working and what steps you can take to reduce its spread.

Send your questions in advance to @acasorguk using the hashtag #AskAcas.

Updated 7th April 2020

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HMRC Webinars

HMRC are delivering a programme of webinars on measures to support employers, employees and the self-employed through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. You can watch a video of the recorded webinar on the HMRC YouTube channel Coronavirus – (COVID-19): helping employers to support employees

You can also attend future free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus. Register here.

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Apprenticeships

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is taking steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship, despite any break they need to take as a result of COVID-19, and to support providers during this challenging time.

The support they are providing includes:

  • introducing flexibilities to allow furloughed apprentices to continue their training as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for their employer
  • encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely, and via e-learning, as far as is practicable
  • allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable and possible in order to maintain progress and achievement for apprentices
  • clarifying that apprentices ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to COVID-19 issues, can have their end-point assessment rescheduled
  • apprentices whose gateway is delayed can have an extension to the assessment time frame
  • enabling employers and training providers to report and initiate a break in learning, where the interruption to learning due to COVID-19 is greater than 4 weeks
  • clarification on how to record breaks in learning so that funding is not unnecessarily disrupted
  • confirming that, where apprentices are made redundant, it is our ambition to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks

They will continue updating this guidance as new information is available and/or the situation evolves. Further information is available at the gov.uk website, in particular the salary support for furloughed employees, which also applies to apprentices.

For further information about operating an Apprenticeship scheme during Coronavirus visit the Government's Apprenticeship website

Information updated 24th April

Employees working from home

If you have people working from home temporarily as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, HSE has advice for employers to follow.
As an employer, you have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers.

Issues you should consider include:
• lone working
• working with display screen equipment (DSE)
• stress and mental health

For more information, including informational videos and downloadable checklists etc. visit the HSE's website

Skills Toolkit

A new online learning platform to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home, has been launched by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

The Skills Toolkit is made up of free online courses, tools and resources to help you improve your digital and numeracy skills. The Department for Education has consulted some of the country’s leading educational experts and employers to make up a collection of high quality resources to suit a range of interests and skill levels.

Article added 28th April 2020

RIDDOR Reporting

The Health & Safety Executive has issued details of when and how you should report coronavirus incidents under RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013).

You must only make a report under RIDDOR, relating to coronavirus, when:
• an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence
• a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
• a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.

For more information (and examples), visit RIDDOR Reporting.

Articles added 9th April 2020

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Right to Work checks during Covid-19 restrictions

The Home Office has announced that Right to Work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry them out during the Coronavirus pandemic. As of 30th March 2020 the following temporary changes have been made:

• checks can now be carried out over video calls
• job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
• employers should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents

Checks continue to be necessary and employers must continue to check the prescribed documents - see Right to Work Checks.

Article added 21st April 2020

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Self referral for Covid-19 Testing

The government has introduced an online process for key workers to self-refer for a Covid-19 test, if they suspect they may have Coronavirus symptoms, or live with a family member who has the illness).

A User guide for essential workers to book a test at a regional testing site or via home delivery is available at Self-Referral for Testing.

Article added 27th April 2020

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Other Useful Websites:

BBC

Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Website links verified 8th September 2020