NVCO - Coronavirus job retention scheme (furloughing)

NVCO - Coronavirus job retention scheme (furloughing)

NVCO - Coronavirus job retention scheme (furloughing)

National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NVCO) has provided further guidance on the Coronavirus job retention scheme announced by the Government.

  • The coronavirus job retention scheme gives employers access to support from HMRC to continue paying wages and avoid laying off staff or making them redundant due to the covid-19 pandemic.
  • Employees can be furloughed and kept on the payroll. They should not work during this time but will remain employed.
  • The scheme is open to all UK employers that had a PAYE scheme in place on 19 March 2020, including charities and not-for-profit organisations.
  • Where staff are furloughed employers can apply for a grant to claim up to 80% of wage costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month, plus the associated employer national insurance contributions and minimum auto enrolment pension contributions. Wages of furloughed employees will remain subject to income tax and other usual deductions.
  • Employers can choose to top up salaries to 100%.
  • All staff employed before or on 19 March 2020 are eligible for the scheme, including ‘casual’ or zero-hour staff.
  • Employees who left an organisation after 28 February 2020 can be re-hired and placed on furlough. This includes employees made redundant due to the covid-19 crisis.
  • 1 March 2020 is the earliest day employers can claim from. They can back-date to the day the employee stopped working, not the date when the decision was made to furlough.
  • To be eligible for funding, furlough must be for a minimum of three weeks. It’s possible to rotate furlough among employees and furlough staff more than once, as long as each employee is furloughed for at least three weeks.
  • While being furloughed, an employee must not work, volunteer or generate income for or on behalf of their employer. They can undertake training and volunteer elsewhere as long as they are not making money or providing services for their employer.
  • For a detailed overview of what furloughing means for those who want to volunteer or take on volunteers, please read our blog on furloughing and volunteering.
  • Unless there is a term allowing furlough in employees’ contracts, you’ll need your employees’ consent to furlough them. This should be confirmed in writing with a record kept for five years.
  • If only some employees are furloughed, consideration should be given to capacity and demand. You must be careful not to discriminate and to make furloughing decisions based on roles, not on personal characteristics. It may be appropriate to use a similar selection process as in a redundancy situation.
  • Employees on sick leave or in self-isolation due to covid-19 can be furloughed once their sickness or self-isolation period ends. The government's guidance on the scheme has more detail about this.
  • Employees who are shielding or who need to stay home with someone who is shielding are eligible for the scheme if they’re unable to work from home and would otherwise be made redundant.
  • Public sector organisations and organisations receiving public funding specifically for salary costs are expected to continue to use that funding for salary costs rather than furloughing staff. See NVCO's blog post on what the government’s covid-19 procurement guidance means for charities for more information.
  • The scheme is due to go live on 20 April with first payments being made 10 days later. It is currently intended to cover four months from 1 March to 30 June 2020.
  • For more information on the scheme, see guidance from HR consultancy Cronerinformation and an FAQ from HR Services Partnership, and information and a downloadable webinar from Bates Wells.

Click here for Contingency Planning and Financial Implications article from NVCO.

 

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