The government has advised all employees to work from home unless it is not possible to do so. As a result, many businesses’ entire workforce is now based at home. The drastic change to working practices throws up a number of challenges. In this note, we focus on the health & safety implications.
The Government has introduced a new scheme (the Job Support Scheme) to replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which ends on 31 October 2020. The Job Support Scheme is designed to assist businesses that are facing decreased demand due to the circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. The Government will subsidise the wages of employees working fewer than normal hours, with the stated aim of protecting ‘viable’ jobs through the winter months.
Under the Job Support Scheme, employers will pay the wages of their employees in the normal manner for the hours they have worked. The employer and the Government will then each pay a third of the hours that the employee has not worked but that they would normally. As a result, employees will receive a minimum of 77% of their normal wage.
Payments to employers will be made after the employer has paid the employee. It is also important to note that the Government’s contribution is capped at £697.92 a month.
To be eligible for the Job Support Scheme:
- Employers require a UK bank account and UK PAYE Scheme;
- If the employer is considered a ‘large business’, they must prove they are experiencing difficulties with their turnover due to Covid-19;
- Employees must have been on the PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020; and
- Employees must work at least a third of their contracted or usual hours;
- Employees must not be on notice of possible redundancy.
The scheme will start on 1 November 2020 for a period of 6 months. Employers will be able to make applications to the Job Support Scheme from December 2020 using the Gov.uk website.