To be eligible for the Job Retention Scheme employers must confirm in writing to their employee that they have been furloughed. A record of this communication must be kept for five years.

ACAS has recently released a brief update on resources available to help employers during the Coronavirus pandemic which includes the provision of a furlough letter template and access to ACAS webinars.

If you wish to see the latest information published by Government regarding the Scheme then please follow this link

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

We have also included some updates on what you should be preparing to collate to make your furlough claim.

 

  1. ACAS Furlough Letter Template
  • ACAS has issued a template letter to enable you to comply with the requirements of the Job Retention Scheme, specifically in relation to the furloughing of employees

Furlough letter template

 

  1. ACAS Holiday Guidance
  • ACAS has issued guidance concerning employee holiday entitlements.
    • The full guidance is reproduced through this link Using holiday
    • In most situations, employees and workers should use their paid holiday (‘statutory annual leave’) in their current leave year- this is 5.6 weeks in the UK;
    • Employers should still be encouraging workers and employees to take their paid holiday.
    • If an employee or worker is temporarily sent home because there’s no work and the employer intends to claim for their wages under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘furloughed’), they can still request and take their holiday in the usual way – this includes bank holidays;
    • Employers and employees should be as flexible as they can about holiday during the coronavirus pandemic;
    • Employees and workers must get their usual pay in full, for any holidays they take.
  • In relation to Bank Holidays:
    • Bank holidays are usually part of the legal minimum 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday and as such employees and workers must get their usual pay in full for bank holidays;
    • Employees and workers may still be required to use a day’s paid holiday for bank holidays, including when they’re furloughed;
    • If employees and workers usually work on bank holidays but are currently furloughed, they should check with their employer to see if they have to take holiday on that day or if they can take the time off at a later date.
  • In relation to requiring staff to take or cancel holiday
    • Employers have the right to tell employees and workers when to take holiday;
    • If the employer decides to do this, they must tell staff at least twice as many days before as the amount of days they need people to take.
  • In relation to previously booked holidays
    • An employee may no longer want to take time off they’d previously booked, for example because their hotel cancelled the booking;
    • Their employer can insist they still take the time off, but it is best practice to get agreement from the employee;
  • In relation to carrying over holiday:
    • during the coronavirus outbreak, it may not be possible for staff to take all their holiday entitlement during the current holiday year;
    • The government has introduced a temporary new law allowing employees and workers to carry over up to 4 weeks’ paid holiday over a 2-year period. This law applies for any holiday the employee does not take because of coronavirus, for example if
      • They are self-isolating or too sick to take holiday before the end of their leave year;
      • They have had to continue working and could not take paid holiday;
      • The employee may also need to carry over holiday if they’ve been ‘furloughed’ and they cannot take paid holiday because of coronavirus;
    • If employers do not already have an agreement in place, they can decide whether they’ll allow extra holiday (more than the 4 weeks’ paid holiday) to be carried over.

 

  1. ACAS Webinar
  • ACAS hosted a webinar on 7 April, which provided practical advice for employers to help manage the impact of coronavirus in the workplace.

View recording

 

  1. Government Portal
  • When Is It Going To Be Available?
    • The Government Portal to enable you to make a claim is still under development;
    • The Government have committed to the Portal being available by the end of April 2020.
  • Can I Be Doing Anything Now To Prepare To Make My Claim?
    • We understand that businesses will need the following information on each of their furloughed employees:
      • National Insurance number
      • Salary, national insurance and pension contribution information that allows business to calculate the claim amount.
    • All clients utilising Barrons payroll service will shortly receive a template to fill out to assist with the collation of the information required, irrespective of whether Barrons are engaged to prepare the Claim or not.

Barrons has put together a helpful guide to running your business during the coronavirus crisis.