Now that the UK is coming out of lockdown and businesses are starting to reopen again, the government’s guidelines are starting to change.
To help you stay up-to-date, here are five of the most important COVID-19 updates landing soon…
1. 31st July 2020: Shielding ends
In England and Scotland, the government will no longer ask people to shield from the 1st of August, while in Wales, shielding will pause on the 17th of August.
That means that employees who were previously shielding at home can now return to the workplace if it’s COVID-secure. If one of your employees has been shielding, you should get in touch with them to discuss a return to work plan.
It’s important to remember also that you have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if your employee has a disability, so make sure to consider this before they return.
2. 1st August 2020: Working from home guidance changes
During the coronavirus crisis, the official position on working from home has been clear: if you can work from home, you should. But that’s changing soon…
From August, all businesses in England will have “more discretion” over where their staff can work. That might mean continuing to work from home or it could mean coming back to the workplace once it’s COVID-secure.
The government suggest that you consult your staff before you make a decision, as there may be some issues which prevent an employee from coming back to work. For example, if they have a serious health condition.
3. 1st August 2020: Remaining leisure businesses reopen
The government has announced that more leisure facilities can reopen from next month. These include:
- Bowling alleys
- Indoor skating rinks
- Exhibition halls and conference centres
If your business falls under one of these categories and you need help to get COVID-secure, check out BrightSafe’s new online software.
4. 1st August 2020: Employers start to contribute to furloughed workers’ wages
Back in June, the Chancellor revealed the government’s plans for winding down the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which includes a gradual process where employers start to contribute.
From August, you’ll pay employer National Insurance Contributions and pension contributions for the hours your employees aren’t working. The government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a limit of £2,500 per month.
Contributions are set to rise further in September, and again in October. To find out more about the new furlough measures, read our blog.
5. February 2021: Employers can claim Job Retention Bonus
Earlier this month the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced plans to give employers £1,000 for every furloughed employee that they bring back to work and keep until January 2021.
To be eligible, you must:
- Bring back previously furloughed employees from November and keep them on for three months.
- Pay employees at least £520 on average per month from November to January.
While this is great news for employers, it does mean that you’ll need to prove that your employees are back at work. To help you, there’s the Blip clocking in and out app.
It makes recording staff work hours quick and easy and it comes with detailed reports to help you prove your staff are working again. To find out more about how Blip helps you secure government bonuses, click here.