Embrace HR Aylesbury Workplace Cultire

Changes happen all the time, everywhere, anywhere and we have to be prepared to update skills and keep them relevant. Working in the care sector it is vital that employees are trained to an acceptable standard, both for mandatory training but also for specific training that their employer needs.

There is a cost to training, not only financial but in time to attend and complete training, as well as the learning curve to put into practice what is learnt. Employees come and go. How do you capture the financial investment in their development, skills and knowledge? When an employee has worked with a client for a fair amount of time after the training, it is a given that they will have used their investment in training to improve working with the client and making a difference to that person’s care and life. How much can you claw back of the financial costs and when?

Can you recoup the training expense when they leave?

Recouping or ‘clawing back’ training expenses is not an easy decision. If you intend to do so, make sure that your employee knows that this is the expectation. Often the employee contract will detail what and when costs will be recouped. It is a good idea to discuss recouping costs early in the employment relationship, even at the interview stage. Most people want to be developed and are quite happy that they may need to repay costs if they leave.

It should not come as a surprise.

When employees need to attend training that is paid for by you, they should be asked to sign an individual training costs agreement detailing the name of the training course, the training provider, the date of the training and an estimate for the cost of the training. This allows for transparency so that the employee is aware of the investment and their obligations to repay should they leave.

An individual Personal Training Record should be maintained and updated for each new training course or refresher training that is completed.

What training should be repaid?

Every Employer will have a different view on what should be repaid. Below is our view of what might be seen as reasonable to recoup.

a) Mandatory training

Keep a training record with a list of mandatory training courses. A training plan for individual Employees should be discussed with them at induction and periodically during 1-2-1 meetings or supervisions. Where the job requires specific training that is set out in a job advert, the relevant certificates/evidence must be seen and recorded. A manager, team leader or family member can be responsible for this activity, or the HR provider is the ideal person to keep such records. If mandatory training is required to be repaid on leaving, this must be clear at the start of employment. However, since attracting and retaining care staff is challenging, many Employers take a view that some training will not be clawed back.

b) Additional training

What additional training courses relevant to the Employer’s specific needs are required? Prior to training being booked, discuss the training requirements with the Employee as well as the commitment that is made for the investment and for repayment. These discussions could take place at induction for new starters or during 1-2-1 meetings or supervision for existing staff. The overall training plan for an individual should include additional training, with a plan in place for when it needs to be carried out. Conduct a training needs analysis periodically to keep up to date with training requirements as they may change from time to time.

When will training take place?

Consideration must be given to whether training should take place during the probationary period or after employment is confirmed. The probationary period is a trial for both the new starter and the Employer. If neither want to continue the relationship and training has already taken place, will you, as Employer, claw back the cost of training?

Take time to consider training agreements and talk to your employees about its implementation.

If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.
T: 01296 761288 or contact us here.
If you would like to receive our newsletter then sign up here.
Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited provide a specialised HR service to the care sector, from recruitment through to exit.

Embrace HR

Set expectations

Employers in the UK, whether an individual or large or small business, who expect their workers to drive during the course of their employment, must comply with the necessary legal requirements. This guidance aims to outline the key steps to take when checking employees’ driving licences and provides an overview of the rules for driving in the UK.

We recommend that you set expectations at the start of employment by including in your Induction a topic such as: “Driving the employer’s vehicle and driving your own vehicle on the employer’s business”.

If it is essential that your employee drives as part of their job role, this must be stated in their contract. The employee must be made aware of the consequences should they be disqualified from driving. If they are disqualified, how will it affect their job role? Before any action is taken consult with an HR professional or employment law solicitor.

It is important to check the status of the driving licence before an employee is permitted to drive the employer’s vehicle to ensure that the insurance is not invalidated.

Where an employee is required to drive extensively during the course of the job role, encourage them to undertake defensive driving courses or other relevant training to enhance their driving skills and safety awareness. You may wish to offer them time off for the training, or even contribute towards the cost of training as part of their development.

In this document we will refer to “employee”, but the guidance applies to people who in employment status are known as “workers”.

Checking the employee’s driving licence

  1. Obtain consent before checking an employee’s driving licence. It is crucial to obtain their explicit consent. This can be in the form of a signed consent form or an email from the employee.
  2. Use the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) Electronic Service to check an employee’s driving licence. The system allows employers to verify driving entitlements, penalties and the validity of the licence using the code generated by the employee.
  3. Verify the photocard. Ensure that the employee holds a valid photocard licence.
  4. Check the licence categories. Review the driving categories specified on the licence to confirm that the employee is authorised to drive the vehicle they are assigned to.
  5. Check the address on the licence is the employee’s address that is registered with you
  6. Check expiry dates regularly to ensure that the licence has not expired. I recommend at least an annual check of the licence.

Rules for driving in the UK

  1. The Highway Code is the rule book for driving in the UK.
  2. Employees must be at least 17 years old to drive a car and hold an appropriate driving licence.
  3. Check your insurance. Many business-use insurances have an age limit restriction. If a driver is under their age restriction, special authority is required and usually premium is paid.
  4. It is essential that an employee’s driving licence is valid, has not been revoked or disqualified and has not expired.
  5. Your employee must advise you if they gain any penalty points or disqualifications. Keep a record of these points and disqualifications.
  6. Ensure that employees who drive the employer’s vehicles are covered by the appropriate insurance policies.
  7. If your employee drives their own vehicle for business purposes, request evidence of insurance and check regularly. Confirm that their vehicle meets MOT requirements if they are expected to carry a passenger. Many insurances include occasional business use for individuals.
  8. Encourage employees who are required to drive extensively for their job to undertake defensive driving courses or other relevant training to enhance their driving skills and safety awareness.

To summarise

As an employer it is vital to follow the guidelines to maintain legal compliance and prioritise the safety of your employees as well as other road users.

Driver risk assessments should be carried out and staff trained. Contact health and safety or other professionals who are competent for further information.

This guidance is for general information and does not constitute legal advice. For specific legal advice do consult a qualified professional.

If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.
T: 01296 761288 or contact us here.
If you would like to receive our newsletter then sign up here.
Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited provide a specialised HR service to the care sector, from recruitment through to exit.

Photo of London night sky

Cecily Lalloo, MD of Embrace HR, independent specialist provider to the complex care sector, discusses how to properly support night workers in their roles, to protect their own wellbeing while enabling them to deliver the best possible care to those who need it.

Night work is commonplace in all aspects of healthcare, and is essential in delivering the care that is needed to people recovering from life-changing injury or in supporting them with ongoing complex needs.

And while this is an accepted and necessary way of working in care, to provide a 24-hour continuous service, the potential impact on health and safety must not be lost by employ-ers of those workers tasked with delivering care.

Employers have to ensure they comply with legislation in this area, to prevent fatigue, burnout and illness arising from employees who are not properly supported.

Risk assessments must be carried out as employers have a legal duty to assess the risks to the health and safety of employees (and risks to the health and safety of persons not in their employ-ment) to which they are exposed while they are at work. In the UK the Working Time Regulations 1998 sets out maximum working time which must be – supported by efficient management of employ-ees, to ensure night workers can achieve acceptable levels of sleep and rest, despite the disruption to their circadian rhythms, and protect their health and wellbeing.

Here, we look at some of the main issues employers need to consider.

Risks for night workers

For people who work nights, or those who work unsociable or very long shifts, these hours are at odds with the more accepted working patterns of working during the day.

Our circadian rhythm, which expects we will be awake during the day and sleep at night, can be disrupted by night work – and sleep is essential to mental and physical restoration to enable us to work effectively. It allows the body to recover from physical or cognitive ac-tivities and helps to protect against fatigue and anxiety.

However, for those working during the night, this is something that is less easy to achieve, and can lead to illness or the exacerbation of existing conditions.

Chronic fatigue resulting from night work is associated with conditions including chronic gastritis, peptic ulcers and cardiovascular illnesses such as hypertension and coronary heart disease. A UCL study found that working more than 11 hours places a person at a 67 per cent higher risk of developing heart disease compared with those who work a typi-cal seven or eight hour day.

Furthermore, fatigue or poor sleep can lead to a greater risk of errors or accidents, which could be of huge consequence when caring for individuals with acute needs.

Legislation supports night workers in being able to access regular medical checks, and if a night worker becomes ill and there is clear evidence to link their symptoms with night work, the employer must reassign the worker to other duties.

But in helping to reduce the chances of workers becoming ill or their wellbeing being com-promised, employers can take pre-emptive steps in protecting workforce and their wellbe-ing.

Risk assessments are a key part of that, and can ensure the workers tasked with deliver-ing care are able to properly protect those they are supporting.

Risk assessments

By properly managing risks and identifying the hazards of night work and helping to miti-gate them, workers are better supported to do their jobs and deliver the often life-saving care that is needed.

Employers must commit to addressing risks and protecting the safety, health and wellbe-ing of workers – which, as well as being best practice, can also help reduce sickness and absence, reduce staff turnover, reduce errors and accidents and increase productivity. Night works should be offered an annual night workers assessment.

A four stage process should be implemented:

1. Establish a system to manage the risks

2. Assess the risks in your workplace

3. Take action to reduce the risks

4. Review arrangements regularly.

A person must be appointed within the organisation to oversee this, and it is vital that workers are consulted and involved in any decisions about shift work.

Factors including fatigue should be prominent in a risk assessment, as well as other as-pects which we know affect healthcare workers such as workload, work activity, duration of shifts, rest breaks within and between shifts, mental and physical demands and welfare.

Risk groups among night workers – such as pregnant workers, younger and older workers, those with existing health conditions and new and temporary workers – should have their particular circumstances taken into account.

Monitor and review

Implementing the four step risk assessment process will reduce the likelihood of potential problems, but cannot always prevent them – which is why workers should be encouraged to report any problems as soon as possible

Supervisors have a role in identifying and reporting problems and if workers are concerned about their personal health, they should be encouraged to visit their GP.

Sometimes it will be necessary for the business to alter the shift schedule or make changes to the work environment. In this case, workers should be consulted in advance on the proposed changes.

While these changes may bring about improvements, they may also create problems, so monitoring any arrangements in place, to ensure they are working for everyone involved, is hugely important.

In any event, arrangements for night or shift workers should be reviewed periodically, to ensure their effectiveness.

Good practice recommendations

While carrying out robust risk assessments and implementing their findings will help the unique features of every business and every care situation, generally there are a number of approaches employers can take to support the wellbeing of their team.

Clearly every situation and business is different, and this may not be appropriate in every one; while it is not legally binding to take such steps, it can be advisable if appropriate to demonstrate the implementation of good practice.

• Plan a workload that is appropriate to the length and timing of the shift.

• Schedule a variety of tasks to be completed during the shift to allow workers some choice about the order in which they are done

• Avoid scheduling demanding, dangerous, monotonous and/or safety critical work to-wards the end of night shifts

• Avoid placing workers on permanent night shifts, and if possible,

• Offer a choice between regular and rotating shift schedules

• Where possible, arrange shift start/end times to be convenient for public transport or consider providing transport for workers on particular shifts

• Limit shifts to a maximum of 12 hours (including overtime)

• Consider if shifts of a variable length or flexible start/end times could offer a suitable compromise

• Allow workers some discretion over when they take a break where possible, but discour-age saving break time to leave work earlier

• Try to limit consecutive working days to a maximum of five to seven days and ensure there is adequate rest time between successive shifts

• Ensure supervisors and team members with responsibility for shift working arrangements are aware of the risks of night work and can recognise problems caused by this

• Provide training and information to workers, management and supervisors on the risks associated with night work and on coping strategies.

The announcement that there is a bank holiday on Monday 19 September 2022, in the United Kingdom to mark the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II will have an effect on many workers.

My diary has been re-arranged, as I am sure others have had to do too. I am pleased that it is a bank holiday as I know that many people, not only in the UK but in other countries, will want to watch or take part in one way or another.

I have had messages expressing sympathy for the late Queen’s passing from my family and friends across the globe – from Africa, Brazil, Australia and the United States. It is an historical occasion – the State Funeral of a respected, dignified woman of integrity. It is fitting that the day is marked by a bank holiday.

What is the effect on employees in your organisation?

The Government is encouraging employers to give workers paid time off where possible and practical.

Many organisations require people to work over public holidays if they are essential services. One cannot simply decide that because of a bank holiday, the role in some of these services stops.

Holiday entitlement is dependent on what is set out in a contract of employment or agreement.

Is the holiday entitlement in the contract stated as 20 days plus public and bank holidays or 28 days including public and bank holidays? If it is 20 days plus public and bank holidays, workers are entitled to an extra day off, although if the normal 8 bank holidays are listed, this is not the case. If holiday is stated as 28 days including public and bank holidays, then there is no automatic entitlement to the extra day.

It is important that employers check contracts and advise their employees of the rules governing the bank holiday.

If it is not practical to provide paid time off, an employer may consider allowing workers to watch the funeral at work or provide time off in lieu if staff are required to work that day. 

Where a worker’s shift is already set for Monday 19, there is an expectation that they will continue as normal. However, there may be reasons that they cannot work that day.

For instance, they may have childcare responsibilities as children will be off school. If so, then it is important that employers listen to the reasons, and where possible make alternative suitable arrangements.

Parents may apply for dependent leave, which is normally unpaid, for an emergency. We have had just over a week’s notice so this may not be applicable. Some people may want to request annual holiday if they still have some entitlement.

This is time for all employers to be sensitive and to ensure open communication with their employees.


If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 761288 or contact us here. If you would like to receive our newsletter, please sign up here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited provide a specialised HR service to the care sector, and small businesses, from recruitment through to exit.

Professional Boundaries

The quality of a support worker’s relationship with their client is very important. It is essential to create a warm, kind, homely and friendly environment. Sometimes, however, this closeness can blur professional boundaries and cause misunderstandings and difficulties for the support worker and the parents of the young people in their care.

Many of our clients are young children and parents and family are the first point of contact on a daily basis with the support worker. It is really important that both the support worker and the parents work together to understand their roles, their limits and the employer’s policies.

Professional boundaries are the rules and limits that prevent the lines between the support worker and the client from becoming blurred. These boundaries are there to help maintain a safe working environment.

It is important to set boundaries from the outset. Where parents are acting on behalf of the young person (the employer) they often assume the role of informal team leader, and therefore need to draw the line between what is appropriate and what is not. There is a fine balance between being a supportive employer and having a personal affiliation between both employees and family members. It can be difficult differentiating between being a worker and being a friend.

Managing Boundaries

The key to managing many of these boundaries is understanding the difference between a professional and a personal relationship and ensuring that behaviour always remains on the right side of the line.

Professional relationships are time bound. Employees have a distinct role and purpose with some structure. The professional has a responsibility for the welfare of their client, and those family around them, and there are rules and boundaries that guide the relationship such as their contract, job description and care plans.

Support workers are paid workers and not friends, although friendships can blossom, but when dealing with work issues, friendships need to take second place. Relationships need to be professional not personal.

Once a relationship has been allowed to stray into personal areas, it is much harder to maintain other professional boundaries. When a parent, on behalf of the employer, then does behave in a professional manner, employees may be surprised, unhappy and resentful as they could have been expecting a personal response.

Examples of Boundaries

It can be a tricky balance to know how much personal information to share with an employee. It is acceptable to talk generally about family and personal life if it helps to build a relationship with the support worker and vice versa.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of potential issues that can cross boundaries:

  • Not respecting each other’s privacy;
  • Visiting outside of contracted working hours without an invitation;
  • Buying, selling or lending personal items or money;
  • Discussing personal issues at length;
  • Postings on personal Facebook or other personal social media outlets without explicit consent;
  • Accepting or giving gifts other than at special occasions such as Christmas or birthdays (gifts should be of a nominal value);
  • Treating each other with respect and without favouritism.


It is challenging to find where that boundary should be, especially where the line may already have been breached. But, with open communication about how parents want boundaries to work in the family home, and with support from deputy’s offices, case managers, and HR advisers, the right professional boundaries can promote much healthier relationships that are respectful, safe and meaningful.


If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 761288 or contact us here. If you would like to receive our newsletter, please sign up here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited provide a specialised HR service to the care sector, and small businesses, from recruitment through to exit.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Returning to Work during Covid pexels-polina-zimmerman-4008565

As the government encourages construction and manufacturing businesses to get staff back to work unless they can work at home, we take a look at what SMEs need to consider to ensure their staff are kept safe…

The current message from the government is now for businesses to start getting back to work if they possibly can. And with a clearer idea of how long the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) is to go on for, and a plan for getting people gradually back to work in place, now’s the time to look at how to manage staff back.

For now, anyone who can work from home should do so, but the government is suggesting that other employees get back to work by June where appropriate. The CIPD has said that employers should meet the requirement of a three-point checklist before bringing staff back to work. These are as follows:

  • Firstly, that it is essential for employees to be present in the workplace
  • Secondly, that it is safe for them to be there
  • And thirdly, that both employers and workers agree that they should come back into the workplace.

The workspace

The key questions to pose before your office staff return to work are:

  • Can they still work from home?
  • When they do come back to work how will that be achieved to maintain social distancing and minimise the risk and spread of infection?

You must consider how staff can safely distance from each other, not just when sat at a desk, but when walking around the office, using the toilet and drinks areas. You need to work out safe walking routes around the workspace and, if space is tight, consider splitting shifts or alternating days so that you don’t have all of the staff in at all times. Screens should only be used if you have no more space to distance employees, and meetings should be avoided. If they must take place, keep everyone distanced or take it outside if possible. Hot desking is also to be avoided. If someone has to use another desk, computers and phone, or other equipment, these should be thoroughly cleaned between users.

Changing the way you work

Perhaps this whole situation has made you realise that your staff can work from home. Maybe you don’t need an office or can utilise a smaller space. Now is a good time to consider how your business might look in the future. Start looking at the implications of people working full time from home – what do you need to do to make this happen – for instance:

  • Do you need a more robust IT provision in place?
  • What extra insurance cover will you need?
  • Have you been using Microsoft Teams or other collaborative software? Can this work in the future? If not, consider what sort of software and systems you need to make the shift in order to work more effectively and efficiently.

Getting to work

The message is that the youngest school children and those in Year 6 (age 10-11) will go back to school first. For some of your staff this will mean that they have children who cannot be left at home alone. Remember that even if your staff have slightly older children, they may have needs that mean they cannot be left at home all day either. Also, staff who need to use public transport may be unwilling to do so. In both cases, you need to have an open discussion with them about what the alternatives are:

  • Can they continue to work from home?
  • Can they work different hours to avoid going on busy transport systems, or work around a partner’s work hours to enable childcare?

Keeping safe

Government guidance says that all employers should be carrying out risk assessments on returning to work, consulting both with their workers and trade unions where applicable. If you employ more than 50 people you will be expected to publish the risk assessment on your company website.

To keep any contact to a minimum, staggered shifts and keeping staff in the same teams are good ways to minimise the number of people with whom they come into contact.

On construction sites, staggered arrival times and multiple entrances are suggested, along with screens to separate workers. Where social distancing is not possible, workers should work back to back or side by side. Swapping of tools should be avoided to lessen the risk of contamination.

In addition, in factories, plants and warehouses, employers should look at how people can work away from each other, in order to maintain the required social distancing, and to stagger the times and locations of breaks.

Working in other people’s homes

If your staff work in people’s homes, such as carers and support workers, or even nurses, they should discuss how social distancing will be achieved. However, working with people means often being close to them. They may require personal care which means that social distancing is not possible. There are other areas to consider. Recommendations can be to leave all internal doors open to minimise touching door handles; restricting the number of people working in normal busy areas such as kitchens and bathrooms; and the mantra of ‘wash hands on arrival and regularly throughout’ cannot be repeated enough. And, of course, it should go without saying that everyone – whether in the home or workplace – should try and minimise the spread of infection.


Keep kitchen access limited to essential staff to minimise any contact. If the kitchen is large enough, install screens to separate workers and only allow one person to enter walk-in freezers and pantries at one time.


Shops should limit customers in the premises to maintain social distance, use contactless payment where possible and reduce customer service to enable the safety for staff.


If your staff use the company’s vehicles, they should be provided with hand sanitiser and cleaning products. Keep staff in teams so that contact is minimised and supply screens to keep them separate if possible. Contact for deliveries should be kept to a minimum, using online payment and pre-arranging for goods to be dropped off in a safe and secure area.


You can read the full government guidance on working safely here.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and find out how we could help you with work from home contracts, risk assessments, staff safety, the furlough scheme and other COVID-19 related issues, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or contact us here.

If you would like to receive our quarterly newsletter, please sign up here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Woman sitting on luggage flexible furlough Embrace HR

With so many companies furloughing their staff so quickly, there is now some essential work that needs doing – some flexibility would help companies, especially SMEs, to keep afloat…

With two-thirds of British companies using the furlough scheme during the COVID-19 crisis, it is no surprise that important tasks that should have been done before everyone left the office have been missed. It all happened so quickly that, especially for SMEs, who do not have a lot of manpower, many important back-ups were not put into place.

The problem is that once an employee has been furloughed, they are not supposed to do ANY work whatsoever. However, in real life, business cannot just come to a full stop like that, and there is work still to be done. For example, out-of-office replies need to be set up on emails, calls and emails need to be redirected, websites and social media need updating, and clients need to be contacted. Loyal and conscientious staff may want to ‘volunteer’ to undertake these roles so that things don’t fall through the cracks, and in the hope that there will be a business for them to go back to when this is all over. However, under the current rules, this is not possible.

The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) is calling for increased flexibility within the scheme, so furloughed employees can work reduced hours for their existing employer where possible.

Flexible furlough

It is in these situations where we at Embrace HR would support a scheme that allowed for a more flexible furlough scheme – one where employees were 50 per cent furloughed and 50 per cent employed, for example. We appreciate that there would be some additional administration required for this to work, but as the situation continues we believe it would be more realistic and give smaller businesses more opportunity to help keep their companies afloat until we can all get back to work. It would also help employees to keep abreast of the business and client requirements and would enable them to ease back into the workplace. Many people have had to adjust to working remotely, and those with children have had the added responsibility of having to find time to school them. This has caused changes to working in a ‘traditional’ office, and daily commuting.

“Flexible Furlough will, in my opinion, go some way to supporting both businesses as well as employees”, said Embrace HR Director Cecily Lalloo.

Holiday allowance

Something that has been updated within the scheme is the Government’s guidance about annual leave during the furlough period. The new guidance will make it easier for employers to plan ahead. It states says that employees will still accrue their holiday allowance while on furlough. The government has relaxed the regulations and now permit 4.6 weeks’ holiday to be carried over to the next two years.

Something else that has been made clear is that staff can take holiday during the furlough period. This would mean that they would be paid 100 per cent of their usual renumeration salary. The employer can still claim 80 per cent of the holiday pay from the Government but would have to top up the other 20 per cent.

We have been lucky that the weather in the UK has been glorious since lockdown began, and many people may feel like they are on holiday anyway. But the real concern is that once people go back to work, they may still want to take their holiday time. Many staff will not have claimed any holiday during the first part of the year. If a small company has five employees, with the statutory paid holiday entitlement of 5.6 weeks (in normal circumstances), they will be expecting to take a total of 140 days’ holiday between the end of lockdown and the end of the year. This is quite a lot of time out of a small business.

For smaller companies, especially those struggling to recover, this may be difficult to manage and is going to be unsustainable, particularly if they have to pay for temporary or freelance cover when staff take holidays. It is a good idea for business owners and managers to consider how they will manage holidays, and to talk to their people.

Rolling over holiday allowance

At the end of March, the Government announced that staff who did not take all of their annual leave – because it was not practical for them to do so – because of the virus, would be allowed to carry it over into the next two years. This applies to most businesses with a few exceptions.

You may like to read our previous article on furloughing staff – good news as furlough deadline is extended.

To apply for the furlough scheme for your company, visit the gov.uk website.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and find out how we could help you navigate the furlough scheme and other COVID-19 related issues, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or contact us here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Furlough Deadline Extended pexels-anna-shvets-3902881

Your newest employees may now be eligible for furlough, after the deadline was extended to 19 March 2020…

If you have new employees who were not initially eligible under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), now’s the time to take another look, as the rules have just been revised. The eligibility date for furlough has now been extended to 19 March 2020, which means tens of thousands of people who thought they had missed out will now be eligible.

The furlough scheme is designed to help companies struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. If you furlough staff, they remain employed by you but mustn’t actually work. The government will repay employers 80% of an employee’s salary (up to £2,500 a month) and it is up to the employer if they top up the pay to 100%.

However, it is not enough for a member of staff to have been employed by your company by that date. In order for your employee to be eligible you must have made a payroll notification to HMRC on or before 19 March.

If any staff were employed on 28 February, but were made redundant before 19 March, they can also qualify for the scheme if you choose to re-employ them and then put them on furlough. It is expected that a quarter of UK workers – that’s more than 9 million people – will be furloughed during the COVID-19 crisis.

According to a  survey published by the British Chamber of Commerce, (BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker dated 15 April 2020) two-thirds of British companies have used the scheme, and a third of companies have 75% of their staff on furlough.

Do’s and don’ts of furloughing

Here is a quick reminder of the things to consider if you are furloughing staff:

  • You must instruct your employee in writing that they are to cease all work in order to be eligible under the scheme.
  • We asked Embrace HR’s employment law solicitor IBB about the rules for rotating furloughed employees. They told us that it is allowed ‘provided that the employees are furloughed for a minimum of three weeks at a time’.
  • Anyone working in a full time, PAYE job – even if on a zero hours contract – is eligible.
  • The grants to businesses are due to be paid out some time in April and will be backdated to 1 March.
  • If staff are self-isolating, they must receive Statutory Sick Pay. They can then be furloughed when they return to work. However, those who are shielding due to health conditions can be furloughed.
  • If you have staff who earn variable pay due to zero hours or flexible working contracts, the 80% will be calculated one of three ways: using figures from the same month in 2019, average monthly earnings for the 2019/2020 tax year, or an average of monthly salary since they started work. The highest figure will be used.

You might like to read our other blogs on the matter of Coronavirus:

Please contact us for more advice on the furlough scheme. To help businesses during the pandemic, we are pleased to be able to provide, free of charge, a template document for notifying your staff about the furlough scheme.

If you would like to request a copy of the free template or to discuss this subject further and find out how we could help you comply with new laws, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or contact us here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury work stress


How can we help?

Stop Press: We’ve listened to the Prime Minister and Chancellor’s speech this afternoon on the Coronavirus UK latest. Significant measures are being put in place for businesses to provide economic support so that many employers may consider keeping on employees. We will update ourselves on the offers but we understand that HMRC will be the place to go. We will keep you up to date as far as we are able.

The Press are asking questions and the PM, Chancellor and others are responding.

Tonight businesses such as cafes, restaurants, gyms, will have to close. Take-aways will still operate. Many of the staff working in these businesses are on zero hours contracts. This means that they do not have contractual hours or pay. The Chancellor says that they are part of the plan to cover their pay through grants to cover up to 80% of pay up to £2,500 per month.

If you missed it, here is the PM and Chancellor’s live conference with summary.



There is so much information out there that it’s difficult to know what to do for the best.

We’re offering a FREE 30 minute consultation to discuss with us your people concerns

  • Lay off and short-term working
  • Working from home
  • Looking after family
  • Keeping well

Here is some brief information to consider. Always talk to your employees as they may suggest something different.

What you need to do if you place employees on short time working

  • Check the contract – is there an allowance for short time working
  • Agree with your member of staff that they will accept shorter working hours, the options may be a that there is a lay off or redundancy situation
  • Agree the reduction in pay
  • Ensure you have agreement in writing
  • This is where you can check further information on gov.uk or the CIPD fact sheet
  • If you need further help contact us

What you need to do if you lay off your employees

  • Check the contract – is there an allowance for lay off
  • Consult and agree with your staff that you will lay them off
  • Agree the period of lay off with a caveat that it may be increased
  • Ensure you confirm in writing
  • This is where you can check further information on gov.uk or the CIPD fact sheet
  • Your employees may be eligible for statutory guaranteed pay
  • Your employees may claim redundancy if unpaid for 4 continuous weeks
  • If you need further help contact us

What you need to do if you believe there may be a redundancy situation

  • Consult with your employees, they may discuss other options such as short-time working or layoffs
  • Follow the redundancy process consider whether you will pay in lieu of notice or whether your employees will work their notice
  • Calculate redundancy payments, pay in lieu of notice (PILON), holidays that have not been taken that you will need to pay in lieu
  • If the decision is still to make redundancies ensure that you follow procedural guidelines, information on gov.uk or on the ACAS website
  • Ensure written confirmation of end of contract due to redundancy
  • If you need further help contact us

We are all in this together. If we can help, we will. Embrace HR are working throughout this time.

You may find this information on the BBF (Buckinghamshire Business First) very helpful.

Take care. Keep well.

 Embrace HR Limited is an HR Department based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, working with SME’s and other small employers in the Home Counties and London. 

Our clients have teams up to 35 employees and we provide whatever HR support is needed, from recruitment to transactional HR, TUPE, redundancy, and other employee relations processes, contracts and handbooks, policies and much more.

Contact us if you would like more information.