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Free meals for school children during half term

The council will be giving out free meals to children during the October half term (26 - 30 October)

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Who can claim

You can now only claim if you have previously furloughed your employee before 30 June and have submitted a claim for this by 31 July. This may differ if you have an employee returning from statutory parental leave.

Maximum number of employees you can claim for

The amount you can claim for in any single claim period starting from 1 July cannot exceed the maximum number of employees you claimed for under any claim ending by 30 June.

There are some exceptions explained in this guidance for employees returning from parental leave and military reservists, where this cap may not apply.

If you receive public funding

If you have staff costs that are publicly funded (even if you’re not in the public sector), you should use that money to continue paying your staff, and not furlough your staff.

Organisations can use the scheme if they are not fully funded by public grants and they should contact their sponsor department or respective administration for further guidance.

If you’re an administrator

Where a company is being taken under the management of an administrator, the administrator can furlough and claim for employees who have been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March 2020 and 30 June by their previous employer.

Administrators should only use the scheme if there is a reasonable likelihood of rehiring the workers. For example, this could be as a result of an administration and pursuit of a sale of the business.

Employees you can claim for

You can check which employees you can put on furlough and claim for at GOV.UK.

Agreeing to furlough employees

Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. When employers are making decisions in relation to the process, including deciding who to offer furlough to, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.

To be eligible for the grant, employers must have confirmed to their employee (or reached collective agreement with a trade union) in writing that they have been furloughed.

As an employer, you must:

The employee does not have to provide a written response and you do not need to place all your employees on furlough.

From 1 July, you will:

  • only be able to claim for employees who have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March and 30 June 2020;
  • be able to flexibly furlough employees, meaning you can bring your employees back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern; and
  • still be able to claim the furlough grant for the hours your flexibly furloughed employees do not work, compared to the hours they would normally have worked in that period.

If you flexibly furlough employees, you’ll need to agree this with the employee (or reach collective agreement with a trade union) and keep a new written agreement that confirms the new furlough arrangement. You’ll need to:

  • make sure that the agreement is consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws;
  • keep a written record of the agreement for 5 years; and
  • keep records of how many hours your employees work and the number of hours they are furloughed.

You do not need to place all your employees on furlough and you can continue to fully furlough employees if you wish. Employees cannot undertake any work for you during the time that you record them as being on furlough.

Flexible furlough agreements

There is no minimum furlough period. Agreed flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time. Employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once.

Although flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time (unless otherwise specified), the period that you claim for must be for a minimum claim period of 7 calendar days.

When your employees are on furlough

During hours which you record your employee as being on furlough, you cannot ask them to do any work for you that:

  • makes money for your organisation or any organisation linked or associated with your organisation; or
  • provides services for your organisation or any organisation linked or associated with your organisation.

Your employee can:

  • take part in training;
  • volunteer for another employer or organisation; and
  • work for another employer (if contractually allowed).

Paying employee taxes and pension contributions

Your employees will still pay the taxes they normally pay out of their wages.

You must deduct and pay to HMRC income tax and employee National Insurance contributions on the full amount that you pay the employee, including any scheme grant.

You must also pay to HMRC the employer National Insurance contributions on the full amount that you pay the employee, including any scheme grant.

You must report these payments via a Full Payment Submission to HMRC on or before the pay date.

Your employee will also still pay pension contributions (both employer and automatic contributions from the employee), unless the employee has opted out or stopped saving into their pension. Until 31 July, you can continue to claim for these costs for the hours the employee is on furlough. From 1 August employers will not be able to claim for employer NICs and pension contributions.

Keeping employee rights

Employees still have the same rights at work, including:

  • Statutory Sick Pay;
  • annual leave;
  • maternity and other parental rights;
  • rights against unfair dismissal; and
  • redundancy payments.

You can continue to claim for a furloughed employee who is serving a statutory notice period but grants cannot be used to substitute redundancy payments. HMRC will continue to monitor businesses after the scheme has closed.

Holiday pay

Furloughed employees continue to accrue leave as per their employment contract.

The employer and employee can agree to vary holiday entitlement as part of the furlough agreement, however almost all workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks of statutory paid annual leave each year which they cannot go below.

Employees can take holiday whilst on furlough. If an employee is flexibly furloughed, any hours taken as holiday during the claim period should be counted as furloughed hours rather than working hours.

Employees should not be placed on furlough for a period simply because they are on holiday for that period. Working Time Regulations require holiday pay to be paid at the employee’s normal rate of pay or, where the rate of pay varies, calculated on the basis of the average pay received by the employee in the last 52 working weeks. Therefore, if a furloughed employee takes holiday, the employer should pay their usual holiday pay in accordance with the Working Time Regulations.

Employers will be obliged to pay employees who are on holiday additional amounts over the grant, though will have the flexibility to restrict when leave can be taken if there is a business need and the correct notice is given. This applies for both the furlough period and the recovery period.

If an employee usually works bank holidays, the employer can agree that this is included in the grant payment. If the employee usually takes the bank holiday as leave, the employer would either have to top up their usual holiday pay or give the employee a day of holiday in lieu.

Find out more information on holiday pay during furlough at GOV.UK.

New guidance on £9 billion Job Retention Bonus

The Job Retention Bonus, worth up to £9 billion is set to support millions of employers who have kept on furloughed workers.

The bonus will work alongside the newly announced Job Support Scheme and could be worth more than 60% of average wages of workers who have been furloughed and kept on until the start of February 2021.

The £1,000 Job Retention Bonus is equal to a 20% wage subsidy for the employment costs of the average person previously furloughed. For those on lower incomes, this is equal to 40% of wage costs over the three month period to the end of January 2021.

Businesses can claim for the Bonus from 15 February until the end of March.

Find further information and check if you can claim the Job Retention Bonus.

© 2020 Stevenage Borough Council