Extension of the furlough scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended to the end of March 2021 with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.
- The government will pay 80% of employee’s wages up to a cap of £2,500 with employers covering the cost of pension contributions and National Insurance;
- The government will review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.
- Employees don’t need to have been furloughed before to qualify;
- Employees need to be on their employer’s payroll by 23:59 on 30 October 2020;
- Flexible furloughing is allowed as well as full-time furloughing;
- Employees have to be furloughed for a minimum of 7 consecutive calendar days;
- Employers can choose to “top up” wages.
We will update this content as additional information becomes available.
Jobs Support Scheme
The Jobs Support Scheme has been postponed until the extended furlough scheme ends.
As restrictions change, organisations need to think about how staff and volunteers can continue to work safely.
Scottish Government advice is that remote working should remain the default for all of those who can. If your organisation has successfully moved to home working and digital service delivery this might mean that you do not need to reopen physical services or premises for some time.
If you do decide you need staff to work in ‘in-person’ settings, you have a duty of care towards staff and volunteers. You must do all you reasonably can to support their health, wellbeing and safety.
ACAS recommend talking regularly to all staff about working patterns and preferences.
The coronavirus crisis has affected us all. Many people will be feeling more stressed or anxious than usual. You should do all you reasonably can to support staff and volunteers.
Some of the key actions you could consider include:
- Increasing communication with managers – talk about work routines, work-life balance, home working environment, concerns about work reopening
- Promoting any external support your employees can access, for example an employee assistance programme if you have one
- Running fun activities to share personal news
- Share positive feedback and celebrate success
- Informal chats over coffee and cake
- Trying to keep video calls to a minimum, and not forgetting other communication methods
Job retention bonus
The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment to employers of £1,000. It was intended to encourage employers to keep people in work until January. As the furlough scheme has been extended, the retention bonus has been withdrawn and will be reconsidered at a future point.
The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people aged 16 – 24 who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.
If you are employing less than 30 Kickstart roles you need to apply through an intermediary representative organisation.
To register your interest please contact us at email@example.com
Staff who are shielding or in a vulnerable group
The Scottish Government strategic framework to manage coronavirus came into effect on 2 Nov 2020.
People who were shielding during the lockdown earlier in the year will not be asked to shield again. However, there is particular advice for people who are considered clinically vulnerable. This advice will be different for different tiers.
We will update this information with implications for employers as the new guidelines are clarified.
Staff who are self-isolating
The Scottish Government has put ‘test and protect’ scheme in place to help break coronavirus transmission chains. Your staff will have to self-isolate for an extended period in these situations:
- they have symptoms of coronavirus
- they have been informed by an NHS contact tracer that they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
- they live with a person who has symptoms or has tested positive
If your staff are self-isolating you must ensure they do not come into work. You can ask them to work from home if they feel well enough.
If your employees are self-isolating for one of the reasons listed above they are entitled to any statutory sick pay due to them from the first day of absence.
Some employers can claim back up to 2 weeks’ SSP they’ve paid to anyone because of coronavirus. Find out more about claiming back SSP due to coronavirus on GOV.UK.
You might also pay more than statutory sick pay to employees, depending on your contracts. Find out more about sick pay on the ACAS website.
The Self-Isolation Support Grant will help those who would lose income if they needed to self-isolate, such as those unable to carry out their work from home. Applications are due to open from 12 October and will be delivered through the existing Scottish Welfare Fund, which is administered by local authorities.
Staff with caring responsibilities
If you have staff who are struggling to work because of caring responsibilities (including childcare or caring for someone who is clinically vulnerable) it is good practice to explore options to support them.
There is no statutory requirement to pay people if they are unable to work but many employers have been able to put flexible arrangements in place. These will need to be considered in the context of your business needs and employment contracts but could include:
- Continuing to encourage home working as default
- Agreeing flexible working patterns
- Agreeing a temporary reduction in working hours
- Agreeing to use of annual leave or unpaid leave
- Furloughing employees (the furlough scheme is now closed to new entrants)
Volunteers should be supported and protected from risk in the same way as staff. Although they may not have a formal employment contract, they are covered by health and safety legislation and any risks to their activity with your organisation need to be assessed.
If you have supported remote volunteering during lockdown you should ensure you have the same protections and supports as you would with a face to face service, for example PVG checks and safeguarding policies.
The latest information and advice from HSE including cleaning and hygiene, risk assessments, and social distancing in
by Health and Safety Executive
A range of materials to communicate with the public. Resources include topics such as using public toilets and the
test and protect scheme.
by NHS Inform
Information and updates on coronavirus for employers.
by Healthy Working Lives
Advice from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service for both employers and employees. They have
information on a range of topics including furlough and pay, mental health and working form home.
The Hub provides support for individuals and employers in the health and social care sector in Scotland. Their
practical guidance includes how to support staff, management support, and coping and self-care resources.
Guidance to support the continuation of homeworking during the coronavirus pandemic.
by Scottish Government
Information about coronavirus and your employment rights, and what financial support might be available. This
includes information on topics such as rights for carers and financial support for working families.
by Working Families
Interactive tool to help you navigate the complex workforce planning decisions you’ll make in light of a
reduced workforce need during this pandemic.