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Job Support Scheme and Job Retention Bonus

Job Support Scheme

31st October 2020 marks the end of The Job Retention Scheme – or furlough – which was introduced by the government to aid businesses and support employees. In it’s place is The Job Support Scheme, which has been created to support individuals and businesses with the challenges created by Covid-19 in recent months. This scheme has recently been updated and the changes will be detailed below. It will come into force from 1st November 2020 and will run for six months, until 30 April 2021, with a review of the terms due to occur in January. All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant.

  • Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have benefitted from The Job Retention Scheme (furlough) in order to be qualified for the Job Support Scheme.
  • The employee will be required to work a minimum of 20% of their normal hours and will be paid normally for these hours.
  • Employees will receive 66.67% of their usual pay for the hours not worked – paid in part by the employer and in part by the government.
  • The employer will be required to pay 5% of the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 a month – they may pay more if they desire.
  • The other 61.67% will be paid by the government, up to a maximum of £1541.75.
  • Employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll between 6 April 2019 to 23:59 23 September 2020.
  • Large businesses (250 + employees) will have to meet a financial impact test. SMEs and charities will not have to take the test.

Due to these conditions, employees that are eligible for the scheme will continue to receive at least 73% of their normal wage, where they earn £3125 a month or under. From 8th December 2020, employers will be able to make a claim online through Gov.uk and they will be paid on a monthly basis.

Job Retention Bonus

The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off taxable payment of £1000 to an employer for each eligible employee that was furloughed and continuously employed by you until 31st January 2021. The bonus can be claimed between 15th February 2021 and 31st March 2021 – this money does not have to be paid to your employee. The eligible employee cannot be serving a notice period on 31st January 2021. You must also meet the minimum income threshold.


Staff Retention and Engagement

Employee retention is about keeping the staff that you have employed; now more than ever, businesses have seen their employees seek new jobs after only a year or two. It is essential that effort is put into retaining staff. The way to achieve this is to create a working culture that allows them to learn and develop within the business, and to cultivate an environment that ensures they are happy and enjoy work.

How can you make sure your employees feel valued?

People like to know they are doing a good job, simply thanking an employee for their effort can go a long way to ensure they feel valued and part of the team. Reward schemes are also invaluable as they give staff a goal to work towards. Furthermore, regular reviews keep the employee and employer on track and focused on career goals and creates a clear growth path.

Staff retention should not only appeal to employers with a high staff turnover, but any business who values the happiness and wellbeing of their employees. People who have a happier work life will be more willing to go above and beyond in their role and obtain fantastic results.

How can you ensure employees are engaged?

Know your staff. It is imperative that you know how your employees work, do they need a daily check-in call to stay engaged and motivated, or do they prefer a task list to work from? Give them goals to work towards and make sure you track their progress and ask if the need support along the way. This is even more prevalent with home working as it is not as easy to keep in contact, however it is completely possible through technology.


Employee Satisfaction

The average employee spends a third of their life at work, this is a significant amount of time and employee satisfaction is of the upmost importance. It is essential that employers ensure that the mental and physical health and wellbeing of their employees is looked after. An employer’s work does not end when their recruitment process is over and their new employee begins their new role, staff retention is a reflection on the happiness of the employee.

A successful way to increase levels of job satisfaction is the implementation of work benefits; for example, flexible working, working from home, private health care and team building events. These benefits help employees to feel valued and part of a team which will consequently increase their levels of satisfaction.

People are the greatest asset for a business, however they can also be its greatest downfall. If your employees are not happy, they may experience a decline in levels of motivation and/or engagement. It is essential that these issues are addressed so that your employee works to the best of their ability while feeling supported and happy. You could create an anonymous survey, that asks questions about employee satisfaction; this will allow employees to feel hear and able to express their opinions and things that are going well/ need improving. In tun you, as the employer, will be better informed when planning for the business and managing staff.


Diary Dates

1st November 2020

The new Job Support Scheme will run for six months, beginning on 1st November. The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/job-support-scheme

13th November 2020

World Kindness Day: kindness is encouraged worldwide by being generous, considerate, ethical, and friendly. Now more than ever, we need a bit more kindness in the world, why not find a way to implement Random Acts of Kindness in your workplace. Ideas can be found here: https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/


Case in Focus

Packman v Fauchon UKEAT/0017/12/LA

What happened?

Mrs Fauchon worked as a bookkeeper for Packman. The business experienced a decline, in response the employer purchased a software package which reduced the hours needed to be worked by the bookkeeper. Due to this, the respondent tried to persuade the claimant to significantly reduce her working hours, however the claimant refused to do so. Because her contract entitled her to work the hours she was doing, and the employer no longer needed her to work those hours, the employer gave her notice of dismissal.

The Hearings

The employment tribunal found that it was common ground that Mrs Fauchon was dismissed. The employer demonstrated that the reason was redundancy caused by a decline in the business, meaning that there was a diminished need for bookkeeping. Mrs Fauchon was offered a reduction in hours however she chose not to accept these terms.  Therefore, a redundancy payment was payable to her.

Take away points

  • Redundancy is defined by three situations: The company has ceased trading, the company has ceased training in a particular location or the volume of work has ceased or diminished. If in doubt, take professional advice from us.
  • Employers may reduce hours where possible, in order to avoid redundancies.
  • It can be helpful to consider introducing lay-off or short-time working clauses into your employment contracts.
  • You might want to consider your own version of the furlough scheme once the current one expires – we can help you design and implement this.

Ask the Experts

What happens if an employee’s holiday is cancelled due to circumstances out of their control and they want to cancel their annual leave and take it at a later date?

This decision should be made at your discretion as the employer. There is no obligation for you to accept the change in annual leave, you may feel that  the alternative time off they have requested will negatively affect your business and may wish to insist it is not changed. Alternatively, you may empathise and feel that, due to the unforeseen circumstances, you will allow the employee to cancel their planned annual leave.

It has been intimated that pregnant women are in the high-risk category. Due to this, can we as employers insist that their maternity leave begins early?

No, you cannot insist that they begin their maternity leave early. If they are able to work from home, then this would be the best option for them. If the employee becomes ill and therefore begins their maternity leave earlier than planned, in line with maternity legislation, this is fine.  There is a possibility that you may have to suspend a pregnant woman who is unable to work due to being high-risk, and for this reason, you should really take professional advice to avoid discrimination claims.


Latest Coronavirus Update

Following the latest announcement from Boris Johnson, we have summarised below the main points:

The number of Covid-19 cases has increased since some lockdown restrictions were lifted. Consequently, the government have put in place new measures in order to decrease the number of cases and work towards going back to how we were pre-Covid-19. These are the recent updates:

Hospitality/Retail industries: Customers are now required to wear face coverings in all shops and in restaurants unless seated at a table. Furthermore, all hospitality and retail staff are required to wear face coverings while working.

Fines: First offence fines for not wearing a face covering will be doubled to £200, individuals will also be fined the same amount for breaking the rule of six. Those who fail to self-isolate could face a fine of £10000.

Restaurants, bars and pubs: All restaurants, bars and pubs must now close by 10pm and only table service can be available. This rule will be in place from 24 September. Failure to adhere to the rules will incur fines for businesses.

Working from home: The advice has reverted back to: work from home if you are able. If your job cannot be done from home, you can still go to work.

These new restrictions are likely to be in place for the next six months. The legal obligations for individuals and business will be outlined further in the near future.