The latest developments in coronavirus help and restrictions as the country gets back to work.
10 June deadline for further 80% Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, where the government pays up to 80% of an employee's salary, is changing from 1 July so those on furlough can work part-time.
But this applies only to those furloughed for a full three weeks up to 30 June.
That means the final date an employee can be furloughed for the first time is 10 June.
Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
Employees that meet the three-week requirement of having been furloughed will be able to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern and still be guaranteed 80% of their normal salary.
Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims will be published on 12 June.
Employees cannot claim for themselves. If you are concerned that your employer has not claimed on your behalf, you should speak to your employer. HMRC will not be able to provide information about individual applications.
The Job Retention Scheme has been extended to the end of October, but it is changing over the months:
- June and July: The government will pay 80% of wages for non-worked hours up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.
- August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions. For the average claim this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
- September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total, up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
- October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has also been extended so those eligible can claim a second and final grant, capped at £6,570, for July, August and September.
The first part of the Scheme, covering April, May and June, saw 2.3million claims worth £6.8billion. Those eligible for the extended scheme will be able to claim a second and final grant in August.
The grant will be worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits and capped at £6,570 in total.
Extension of expiry dates for drivers' DQCs
Most professional lorry drivers must complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years to maintain their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence qualification. This is evidenced by a Driver CPC card, known as a ‘driver qualification card’, or ‘DQC’.
The validity of DQCs with expiry dates from 1 February 2020 to 31 August 2020 has been extended by seven months.
If the expiry date on your card is in this period, you should add seven months to that date to calculate the new expiry date. This is valid across Europe.
- A DQC with an expiry date of 1 February 2020 is now valid until 1 September 2020.
- A DQC with an expiry date of 1 July 2020 is now valid until 1 February 2021.
You will not be issued with a new card to reflect the new expiry date but you must continue to carry your DQC.
Please note: On 31 March DVSA gave notice that it did not intend to carry out enforcement action against drivers from 1 September 2020 to 30 September 2020 if their DQC expired during this period.
That is no longer the case.
Enforcement action will now be carried out from September in relation to DQCs expiring after 31 August as DVSA says there are now enough periodic training courses available for drivers whose DQC expires in September to renew them before then.
If your DQC expires from September 2020, you must not drive until it is renewed or you will face a £1,000 fine.
Details of all approved periodic training are on the JAUPT website.
Face coverings to become mandatory on public transport from 15 June
If you catch a train, bus, tram, ferry or aeroplane in England after 14 June, you must wear a mask.
The government says that wherever possible people should continue to avoid public transport and stay and work at home. If they have to go out they should walk, cycle or drive. If that's not an option and publc transport must be used, you should maintain 2m separation from fellow travellers as much as possible and you must wear a mask.
This is to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus as the use of public transport increases (and it already is increasing), especially with more shops opening.
The reason masks are compulsory on public transport and not in shops is that people are in enclosed spaces for longer periods of time when travelling. This increases the risk of spreading the virus, especially as social distancing is likely to be difficult to follow consistently.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) says that using face coverings in this setting can provide some additional protection to fellow passengers and can help people to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus if they are suffering from it but not showing any symptoms.
Trade credit insurance support
The government has committed to supporting the trade credit insurance market with a £10billion state guarantee.
Construction is one of the largest users of trade credit insurance in the UK, accounting for 30% of it.
With cash-flow an issue as a result of Covid-19, businesses have faced having credit insurance withdrawn or premiums soaring to unaffordable levels.
The Government’s new Trade Credit Reinsurance Scheme, which will apply until the end of the year, is intended to protect trade credit insurance coverage.
Businesses themselves do not need to do anything as support will be administered directly between the Government and insurers.
Test & trace
The NHS test & trace service is intended to help manage the risk of the virus re-emerging as restrictions on everyday life are eased – and employers and businesses are being asked to play their part.
The system was launched in England and Scotland at the end of May following a trial on the Isle of Wight. But it was a bit of a false start as the contact tracing app was not ready, and until the app can be put on mobiles the system does not work as intended.
The phone app shows who has come into close contact with someone who turns out to have Covid-19. The government says the app should be ready by the end of June.
The government says it is up to companies to make workplaces as safe as possible, using the guidelines from the government in conjunction with the Construction Leadership Council's Site Operating Procedures when working onsite.
Although the 2m separation (as much as possible) and other measures might seem disruptive, it is less disruptive than an outbreak of Covid-19 with workers staying at home for a fortnight, and far less disruptive than further periods of lockdown.
The NHS test & trace service is designed to support businesses and economic recovery by providing testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus, so those testing positive and their households know to continue to self-isolate.
It uses a mobile app to identify those who have come into contact with the sufferer, so they can also isolate themselves.
That in turn will enable the government to go further in safely easing or lifting lockdown measures.
To facilitate the NHS test & trace service, employers are being asked to encourage workers to heed any notifications to self-isolate and provide support to these individuals when in isolation.
It is important to follow this guidance to help to reduce the risk of a spread of infection in the workplace.
The NHS test & trace service does not alter the existing requirements.
In general, companies should:
- make every reasonable effort to enable working from home as a first option
- where working from home isn’t possible, identify sensible measures to control the risks in the workplace
- keep the workplace clean, maintain safe working separation, and prevent transmission through unnecessary touching of potentially contaminated surfaces.
Covid-19 is a new risk that must be incorporated into workplace risk assessments. Employers must, therefore, carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment if they have not already done so. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance to help you conduct a risk assessment, which you can download here.