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Lockdown Take 2 – Employment Implications

On Saturday evening, Boris Johnson announced that as from Thursday 5th November 2020 there would be a second national lockdown for a four-week period, which will have a significant impact on businesses around the country. 

Written on November 1, 2020 by Xeinadin Group

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Full details of the regulations are expected to be published before MPs vote on the measure in the House of Commons on Wednesday, but the proposals which impact businesses and employment are as follows:

  • People will be told to stay at home, so all those who can work from home should work from home;
  • Work which cannot be done from home, can continue;
  • Construction & manufacturing workplaces can remain open;
  • All schools; nurseries and universities will remain open;
  • All non-essential retail will close but can remain open for click and collect and delivery;
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants will have to close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery (excluding alcohol);
  • Indoor & outdoor leisure facilities and entertainment venues will have to close – gyms, swimming pools, beauty salons, hairdressers, bowling alleys, cinemas etc;
  • Weddings & Civil Partnerships will not be able to take place and places of worships will close (except for funerals – which will be limited to 30 people);
  • Avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport;
  • Overnight stays outside of your household or support bubble are prohibited;
  • Clinically vulnerable people are asked to be ‘exceptionally careful’ but will not be asked to resume shielding.

Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government has acknowledged that a second lockdown will have a significant impact on businesses around the country and so has announced an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The scheme will be extended until December.

The extended scheme will ensure that employees receive 80% of their salary up to a maximum of £2,500 (gross) per month. The government will cover all of this and the only obligation from the employer is to cover all employer NI and pension contributions. 

Flexible furloughing will continue to be allowed, as per the current scheme.

Who is eligible?

Under the extended scheme, there is no obligation to have used the scheme previously. 

All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant. All other employer ‘rules’ apply as before. 

For employees to be eligible they must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 on 30th October 2020 and an RTI must have been submitted to HMRC on or before 30th October. All other employee ‘rules’ apply as before.

How to Claim?

Details on how to claim this extended support via an updated claims service, is not yet available. The government have promised that details will be provided shortly.

Job Support Scheme

This scheme was due to start on 1st November 2020 but will now be introduced following the end of the CJRS in December.

Other Implications

We appreciate that these are extremely uncertain times for everyone, whether your business if forced to close of not. 

The impact of a second lockdown may have a significant impact on your teams’ mental health and well-being – so now, more than ever, it is crucial to have a plan in place and to keep in touch with them.

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