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The Government has updated its guidance on the Job retention Scheme with more detailed information. The Job Retention Scheme portal is now open.

Full details can be found here:

Claim for your employee’s wages

Key updates:

  • Employees can be furloughed multiple times, i.e. they can be furloughed, brought back to work, then re-furloughed (subject to each furlough period being at least three weeks).

  • Employers must notify employees of their furlough status in writing and keep the record of that written notification for five years.

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and was initially open for 3 months, but this has been extended to June 30th.

Employees you can claim for:

Furloughed employees must have been on your PAYE payroll on or before 19th March 2020, and can be on any type of contract, including:

· full-time employees

· part-time employees

· employees on agency contracts

· employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts

When on furlough, an employee can not undertake work for or on behalf of the employer. This includes providing services or generating revenue.

If an employee is working, but on reduced hours, or for reduced pay, they will not be eligible for this scheme and you will have to continue paying the employee through your payroll and pay their salary subject to the terms of the employment contract you agreed.

Employees hired after 19th March 2020 cannot be furloughed or claimed for in accordance with this scheme.

If your employee has annual leave booked whilst they are on furlough leave:

An employee is entitled to be paid their normal remuneration (including any element for bonus & commission) when on annual leave for the first 4 weeks of annual leave (where EU law applies) whilst they are on furlough leave. The next 1.6 weeks of annual leave should be paid at the basic rate (basic salary without any element for bonus & commission) if they are on furlough leave. The employer will be able to claim 80% of the annual leave payment.

During the first 5.6 weeks of annual leave, normal remuneration (not 80% remuneration) should be paid, meaning the employer will need to ‘top up’ the payment.

Can you require employees take annual leave whilst on furlough leave?

Yes as long as you give the correct notice which is twice the amount of days as the days you want them to take off; e.g. if you want then to take 5 days leave then you will need to give them 10 days’ notice. You might want to do this for operational reasons.

Further information regarding annual leave and coronavirus can be found HERE

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Before the COVID-19 outbreak, employers were legally responsible (under the Working Time Regulations) to ensure that employees took their statutory annual leave in the current leave year. Any contractual annual leave could be carried forward if the employer’s policy allowed for this to happen.

In response to the current health crisis, the government has introduced a temporary new law allowing employees 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’re self-isolating or too sick to take holiday before the end of their leave year

· they’ve been temporarily sent home as there’s no work (‘laid off’ or ‘put on furlough’)

· they’ve had to continue working and could not take paid holiday.

If an employee is 'furloughed' (temporarily sent home because there’s no work), they can still request and take their holiday in the usual way; this includes taking bank holidays (although they are unlikely to do this).

If an employee leaves their job or is dismissed during the 2-year period, any untaken paid holiday must be added to their final pay (‘paid in lieu’).

It’s up to the employer to decide whether they will allow additional holiday (more than the 4 weeks’ paid holiday) to be carried over. This includes:

· the remaining 1.6 weeks of statutory annual leave

· any contractual annual leave.

Further guidance:


Every year, the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) are set to rise from the 1st April.

The new rates will be:

· NLW (age 25+) £8.72 per hour

· NMW (age 21-24) £8.20 per hour

· NMW (age18-20) £6.45 per hour

· NMW (age16-17) £4.55 per hour

· NMW apprentice rate £4.15 per hour

If you pay any employees the NLW or NMW, or close to it, it’s a good idea to check their current pay now to see what adjustments you need to make ready for April.

Other important rises from 5th April 2020

Other important rises include:

· Statutory sick pay, which will rise to £95.85 per week

· Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, and shared parental payments will rise to £151.20

per week

· Statutory parental bereavement pay will be introduced from 6th April (£151.20 per week).

If this is written in your policies then don’t forget to amend them ready for April.



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HR consultant in Brighton, Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and Sussex. Providing outsourced HR support for small and medium businesses.​

Company registered address: 225 London Rd, Burgess Hill, RH15 9QU - Company registered number 11152400