June 2020 - MLP Law

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – how will the scheme work between June and October 2020?

Throughout May we heard a lot of talk about changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“the CJRS”) and, on 29 May 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak finally provided details of what those changes will be and, more importantly, how they will affect employers and employees.

“We await full details” has been a common refrain throughout the lifespan of the CJRS and it remains the case here, but for now we know the following headline developments will take effect over coming months:

  • The CJRS will close to new entrants from 30 June 2020. From this date onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June 2020. This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be the 10 June 2020, in order for the current three-week furlough period to be completed by 30 June 2020.
  • On 1 July 2020, ‘flexible furlough’ will be introduced. This will allow employees to work (and be paid in full by their employer) for part of their normal hours and be furloughed for the remainder of their hours. It will be up to employers to decide the level of time split (by agreement with the employee) but any arrangement has to be in place for a minimum of a week at a time. Guidance for employers on how to calculate flexible furlough applications will be published by the Government by 12 June 2020.
  • From 1 August 2020, employers will start to contribute to the payments to employees under the CJRS, initially in the form of the employee’s national insurance contributions and pension contributions only.
  • From 1 September 2020, the Government’s contribution under the CJRS will drop from 80% to 70% of the employee’s salary (up to a maximum Government contribution of £2,190). From this date, employers will be required to pay 10 % of the employee’s wages so that the employer continues to receive 80% of their salary (up to a cap of £2,500 per month paid to the employee).
  • From 1 October 2020, the Government’s contribution will decrease further to 60% of the employee’s salary (up to a maximum Government contribution of £1,875), and employers will continue having to top up the employee’s wages (now paying 20% of the employee’s wages) so that the employer continues to receive 80% of their salary (up to a cap of £2,500 per month paid to the employee).
  • The furlough scheme will close on 31 October 2020.

The Employment Team at MLP Law can help you with any of issues raised in this update. Just contact us on 0161 926 9969, employment@mlplaw.co.uk or on our employment law-specific Twitter account @HRHeroUK.

MLP Law is also hosting a free live Q&A webinar on Thursday 4 June 2020 at 9.30am – 10.30am, where we will be expanding on some of the developments mentioned above.

You can register your place by emailing tanyam@mlplaw.co.uk or employment@mlplaw.co.uk.

How to calculate your claim for flexibly furloughed employees.

The Government has published a “flexible furlough” working example, which sets out how employers should calculate claims for grants under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme when part furloughing employees from 1 July 2020.

The example is not the easiest to follow but in summary, it sets out that from 1 July 2020 employers will claim a pro rata’d amount of 80% of salary based on the proportion of hours not worked out of normal working hours. The example can be found by clicking here.

Calculating the normal working hours for those with fixed hours/pay is done by taking the number of hours worked in the pay period before 19 March 2020 and when calculating the normal working hours for those with variable pay, you take the higher of (a) the average number of hours worked in the tax year 2019 to 2020 or (b) the corresponding calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020.

For a more detailed summary of the changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will take effect between now and October 2020, please see our previous blog here

The Employment Team at MLP Law can help you with any of issues raised in this update. Just contact us on 0161 926 9969, employment@mlplaw.co.uk or on our employment law-specific Twitter account @HRHeroUK.

Everything you wanted to know about…Discrimination…but were too afraid to ask!

The majority of employers strive to promote equality and diversity in their organisations, but are often uncertain about the law on discrimination. Below we answer some commonly asked questions to help you understand your obligations and how you can ensure you meet your aims as an equal opportunities employer.

What characteristics are protected by the Equality Act 2010?

Discrimination on the following grounds is prohibited under the Equality Act 2010.

  • age;
  • disability;
  • gender reassignment;
  • marriage and civil partnership;
  • pregnancy and maternity;
  • race (including colour, nationality, ethnic origins or national origins)
  • religion or belief (or lack thereof);
  • sex;
  • sexual orientation.

The above are known as “protected characteristics”:

What form can discrimination take?

There are many types of discrimination, some of which apply to each of the above protected characteristics and some which apply only to specific protected characteristics.

The types of discrimination are as follows:

  • direct discrimination: i.e. an employer treating someone less favourably than they treat or would treat others because of a protected characteristic.
  • indirect discrimination: i.e. where an employer appears to treat all workers the same, but the treatment affects one group of workers adversely compared to another because of a protected characteristic.
  • discrimination arising from disability: i.e. treating a disabled person unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of that disabled person’s disability.
  • failure to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled person: i.e. failing to take steps to adjust a workplace practice or physical working environment or failing to provide an auxiliary aid in circumstances where a disabled person is put at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled.
  • pregnancy and maternity discrimination: i.e. treating someone who is pregnant or on maternity leave (or seeking to exercise maternity rights) unfavourably.
  • harassment: i.e. subjecting individuals (in relation to a protected characteristic) to conduct that is unwanted and which has the purpose or effect of violating the victim’s dignity or creating an environment that is intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive to them.
  • victimisation: i.e. subjecting someone to a detriment because they have complained about discrimination.

Can discrimination ever be justified?

Some types of discrimination can, in very limited circumstances, be justified on business grounds where it can be shown that such treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. These types of discrimination include discrimination arising from disability, indirect discrimination and direct age discrimination and most commonly concern health and safety or occupational requirements of particular roles.

Am I liable for my employees’ actions?

An employer will be liable for any discrimination committed by a person it employs, provided the discrimination is done in the course of that person’s employment.

However, an employer may be able to avoid such liability if it can show that it took all reasonable steps to prevent the employee from committing the act of discrimination or from doing anything of that description.

What are the potential consequences of discrimination?

Employees who feel that they have been discriminated against can bring an Employment Tribunal claim against their employer, even whilst their employment is ongoing. There is no cap on the amount of compensation which could be awarded by the Employment Tribunal in such claims.

How can I protect my business from claims?

Employers can take a number of simple steps to protect their business from discrimination claims, including having in place meaningful policies on Equality and Diversity and Anti-harassment. Employers should also regularly train their employees, and in particular their managers, on equality and diversity issues to ensure that any issues which do arise are dealt with appropriately.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the team at MLP with ideas about topics or for detailed advice in connection with any of the issues raised. You can reach us at employment@mlplaw.co.uk or @HRHeroUK or on 0161 926 9969.

Guide to Buying a Business

Are you looking to buy a business? Nervous about where to start or how to structure it?

There can be many hurdles to overcome before successfully acquiring a business.

Our business and employment experts at MLP Law can help you overcome the hurdles and navigate all the steps to successfully acquiring a business.

“Always prompt to respond, I’ve found the help and advice I’ve received over the years is accurate, with the balance of risks clearly explained, but always accompanied with recommendations that are in a commercial context” – Annonymous

For a copy of our guide, please complete the form below. If you would like further information on how we can help you acquire a business, please contact our employment and Business teams, on corporate@mlplaw.co.uk

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