Festive period lockdown - CJRS (furlough scheme) reminder
On 19 December new lockdowns for much of the UK were announced. Of particular interest to us is the transition to tier 4 for all of mainland Scotland on Boxing Day 2020 for an initial 3 weeks and the resulting effect on clients' businesses, especially in sectors like hospitality and retail where businesses are traditionally open and for which the festive period is a key time for sales.
The purpose of this short article is just to give a brief reminder re the furlough scheme following these announcements.
The official furlough scheme guidance opens with "If you cannot maintain your workforce because your operations have been affected by coronavirus, you can furlough employees and apply for a grant to cover a portion of their usual monthly wage costs where you record them as being furloughed".
Businesses such as shops, restaurants, hotels, pubs, gyms and hairdressers that would have been open over the festive period but now have to close or severely curtail operations from 26 December should be covered by this, so long as the correct procedures re furloughing staff are followed. Businesses that would have been closed anyway will have to wait until when they would have reopened after New Year before furloughing, if required.
Note that employers are only able to claim for employees who were included on a payroll submission by 30 October 2020. More recent employees can be furloughed but won’t be covered by grant funding.
Annual leave/statutory holidays included in the period have to be paid at normal rates, though grants can still be claimed at 80%. Businesses can’t cover ‘normal’ festive shutdowns under the scheme though, unless as part of a pre-existing furlough period.
An added complication is that many payrolls covering this period will already have been run on the basis of the previous tier rules.
We’d suggest any clients considering changes at this time contact us and their employment law advisor as soon as possible.
Finally, just a quick reminder that we are closed for the festive period from 1pm on Christmas Eve and will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 5 January 2021. As at present, some of us will be working from home but the team will all be working on their usual days and will be ready to help clients to the best of our abilities.