With the situation changing daily, if not hourly, we would advise our clients not to rush into decisions around workforce, but to get in touch to discuss the options. New initiatives are being announced daily and until the regulations come into force, if your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.
As we approach the inevitability of all but key workers being allowed to travel to work, organisations are having to put in place plans to adapt to new ways of working and/or keep themselves afloat and to support their workforce as best they can.
For support at this difficult time, please refer to the latest government guidance for employers.
You will no doubt be aware that some organisations rushed to terminate the employment of large swathes of their workforce as soon as this crisis hit, with a handful having done this rather unprofessionally or inhumanely. With the government’s new measures in supporting businesses unfolding daily, this seems to have been a hasty move. In addition, employment law requires employers to act reasonably and those who don’t, could face backlash through the court system and/or in the press.
A business with no workforce will struggle to survive when the crisis comes to an end. It takes time, effort and money to recruit and onboard new joiners. Where possible, businesses need to try and retain their talent, and the Government’s emerging plans are aimed at enabling this to happen.
Here are some examples of the types of questions we are fielding. Please note that our guidance is relevant based on information available up to 22nd March 2020. Please contact us to discuss your particular issues, as each scenario is different.
The House of Commons Public Bill Committee has proposed an amendment to the Coronavirus Bill, entitled Statutory Self-Employment Pay.
If accepted (and I think it will be), it compels the government to introduce Regulations providing that "freelancers" (undefined) and "self-employed people" should receive guaranteed earnings of:
(a) 80% of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years; or,
(b) £2,917 per month
whichever is the lower.
The purpose of this amendment is to make the Government ‘top up’ self-employed workers’ earnings to the lower of 80% of their net monthly earnings or £2,917 a month.
We will, of course, provide further updates when available.