Embrace HR Sleeping Nights Payments

A recent ruling by the Supreme Court (Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake) has established that where a worker is paid a flat shift rate (or an allowance) for a sleeping night, when they are awake and working for any period of that shift, they should be paid no less than the national minimum wage for those hours, in addition to the shift flat rate (or allowance). We have set out below a summary for your information.

A support worker who spends any time ‘awake for the purposes of working’ during the course of a sleeping night shift is entitled to be paid for every minute of that time at no less than the NMW rate, in addition to the flat shift rate (or allowance).

This could result in a worker being paid the flat rate (or allowance) plus an hourly rate for the whole shift if he/she was ‘awake for the purposes of working’ for the whole shift.

The Supreme Court clarified that sleeping night allowances are not pay/wages, as such, but are compensation given to support workers for the inconvenience of having to spend nights at their employer’s house rather than in their own home. The Court also made it clear that sleeping night allowances do not count towards the worker’s NMW calculation.

That said, the decision has confirmed that the practice of paying support workers a flat shift rate amount (or allowance) for sleeping night shifts is perfectly lawful and that it does not matter if the amount of the allowance is less than the equivalent of what the worker would be entitled to be paid if he/she was to be remunerated for the whole shift at the NMW rate.

Clients whose current practice is to pay a flat shift rate (or allowance) to their workers for sleeping night shifts but to pay them for the whole night shift on an hourly rate (NMW compliant) basis if they are required to get up and work on more than XX occasions (or for more than YY hours in total) during the course of the shift, now find themselves exposed to the risk of NMW breach complaints or claims.

This is because under this type of arrangement if a worker is called upon to work during the course of a particular sleeping night but the number of occasions he/she is called upon is less than XX (or he/she has to work for less than YY hours in total), there will be a breach of the NMW legislation if he/she is not paid anything (over and above his/her sleeping night allowance) for doing that work. With this type of arrangement there is also a risk of workers bringing complaints of historical NMW breaches (coupled with back claims for under-payment of wages).

Left unchanged, the current practice of paying a flat rate (or allowance) for a sleeping night shift, with the additional cost of paying at least the NMW rate for the hours the support worker spends ‘awake for the purposes of working’, could result in a greater financial burden than simply paying the worker for the whole sleeping night shift at the NMW rate.

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, from recruitment through to exit.

Embrace HR Statutory Pay rate rises

While many things in our world are unusual at present, one thing that never changes is the rate rises that come into effect each April. Read on to ensure you have the correct figures available when paying your April wages and salaries…

Wage and Statutory Pay Increases April 2021

As many of us watching the Spring Budget on 3 March concentrated on whether Chancellor Rishi Sunak would hit us with taxes to pay for the Covid support offered to workers, businesses and the self-employed over the past year, it might have been easy to miss the announcement of the annual rate rises for minimum wage and other statutory payments.

Essential for anyone dealing with payrolls and other human resource issues within the care sector, these need to be applied from various dates in April. The four rate rises are explained below.

First though, a brief explanation on the difference between the National Living Wage (NLW) and the National Minimum Wage: the National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum rate of pay per hour which almost all workers are entitled to; whereas the National Living Wage (NLW) is slightly higher and applies to workers if they’re over the age of 23.

National Living Wage (NLW)

One point to make note of is that the age threshold has been reduced for the National Living Wage, so it now applies to those aged 23 and over, while the main adult rate is for those aged 22 and 23.

  • The National Living Wage rises to £8.91 on April 1 (a rise of 2.2% from £8.72).
  • For workers aged 21 and 22 the new rate is £8.36.
  • For those aged 18 to 20 the new rate is £6.56.
  • Under-18s can look forward to a new hourly rate of £4.62, while apprentices will receive £4.30.
Age 2020 rate 2021 rate Percentage increase
20-21 £8.20 £8.36 2%
18-20 £6.45 £6.56 1.7%
16-17 £4.55 £4.62 1.5%
Apprentice £4.15 £4.30 3.6%

Statutory Redundancy Pay Cap

A weekly pay cap is applied to Statutory Redundancy Pay, and any changes come into effect on 6 April 2021.

The cap is calculated in line with any changes that have occurred to the RPI (Retail Prices Index). So, if the RPI in the preceding September is higher, then the statutory weekly redundancy amount is increased by the same percentage.

At present the cap is set at £538, with the new maximum predicted to be £544.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

The flat SMP rate changes on the first Sunday in April. This year, the rate should rise to £151.97 (from £151.20) on 4 April 2021.

This rate is also the same for Statutory Adoption, Shared Parental and Paternity Pay.

Your employees should be paid 90% of their average weekly earnings for the first six weeks of their maternity leave. For the next 33 weeks, they should receive whichever is the lower – SMP or 90% of their average weekly earnings.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

The rate for SSP will change on 6 April 2021 and should rise to £96.35 (from £95.85).

Employees are entitled to SSP if they are off sick for four or more days in a row and can claim SSP for up to 28 weeks.

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, from recruitment through to exit.

Working Parents

Support for key worker parents should be a priority for employers in the care industry…

If you don’t look after your staff how can they look after anyone else?

As lockdown 3.0 continues, working parents are once again doing their best to work without being able to fall back on their regular childcare or traditional schooling.

For parents in the care industry, life can be even harder – they can’t work at home, childcare options are more limited because of Covid restrictions, and schools have become strict on allowing key worker children to attend during the school day – often insisting that both parents must be key workers for children to be eligible for a space.

Being a working parent in normal times is often a juggling act but throwing in the restrictions of Covid-19 and lockdown and times can be especially tough, particularly in an industry where many staff are not high earners.

For example, a study by Working Families in October 2020 [Working Families: One in five working parents has faced unfair treatment at work since COVID-19 onset 16/10/2020], also found that 2.6 million (one fifth of) working parents in the UK thought they had been treated less fairly at work because of their childcare responsibilities during the pandemic. Women had been particularly affected, with more mothers than fathers leaving paid work since last February [Institute for Fiscal Studies: Parents, especially mothers, paying heavy price for lockdown 27/05/2020].

So how can you support the parents in your employ?

First of all, making it clear that you realise what a tough time they are having, and ensuring that they know their employer  is supportive is one very easy and simple thing to do. A supportive message will help them feel that they have not been abandoned to struggle on through, and that case managers, deputies and parents actually recognise that they may be finding things difficult.

This in turn will help to encourage your staff to be honest about issues they are having rather than trying to hide problems, or even leaving work because it is too hard to manage childcare and employment.

From this, line managers can have honest conversations with the team about what solutions might work for them. They can discuss possibilities such as flexible working, changing roles or spreading hours throughout the week.

Your staff may benefit from more flexible rotas or more swaps between rotas than normal. Parents will have different requirements depending on their children’s ages, whether they have a partner working at home or if their children have additional needs. There are many reasons for a change in working pattern which is why open and honest conversation is necessary.

Line managers should also catch up with working parents on a regular basis, as circumstances may change, and if school closures should extend past 8 March, they may find it harder and harder to cope.

Proactive next steps

For those where none of these options work – what are the next steps? Could your employees be furloughed, take some holiday, unpaid leave or parental leave?

For many working in the care industry at this crucial time, taking unpaid leave is not particularly a viable option, either because of work requirements, or financially. However, eligible parents are permitted parental leave of up to four weeks in a year for each child (including adopted children). You should also offer support to anyone returning from maternity or parental leave, as the place of work they come back to might be quite different from the one they left. Ensure they are made aware of any changes in working practices such as staffing and change of rules.

Of course, uppermost must always be the concern that you are not being discriminatory. Check out the latest advice from the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) regarding Covid, employment and discrimination – especially concerning women, marital status and pregnancy.

You may be able to introduce some other ‘perks’ that will take the pressure off your staff. One housing trust, for instance, has offered parents one paid afternoon off a week. This could give them breathing space to help a child catch up with some homeschooling, do some fun activity with their children, or simply take a much-needed break.

While your working parents are looking after their families and your clients within the care industry, it is important that they are also looking after themselves. If you have a health and wellbeing programme, mental health first aid programme or similar scheme, make sure that your staff are aware of them and have easy access. If you do not have these programmes in place, there are many organisations with good advice that you can point your staff towards, such as MIND.

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, from recruitment through to exit.

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Can you insist that your care industry employees are vaccinated? What will happen if they refuse? Read on…

As the first Covid-19 vaccines begin to roll out, we can start to see a ray of light at the end of the global pandemic tunnel. And for those of us in the care industry, with the responsibility for the safety of both staff and clients, it is a big relief.

However, just because the vaccine is being made available – and health and social care workers and care home workers are among those included in the first wave – that doesn’t mean that all of your employees will take up the offer.

Best practice

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) says that employers must take reasonable steps to reduce workplace risks. With this in mind, it would be wise to  educate your staff about vaccination so that health and safety is front of mind and they make an informed choice regarding vaccinations.

In light of this, it is key that employers draw up a policy regarding keeping safe, with reference to vaccinations in general, if one is not already in place.

Vaccine concerns

Staff may have their own reasons for not wanting to be vaccinated – in fact according to a YouGov survey around a fifth of those surveyed said they would not be vaccinated. They may fear that it has been developed too quickly, and that there is not enough known about side effects. They may doubt its efficacy – and with the announcement that the gap between first and second doses is being extended, may be even less convinced that it will give them immunity.

They may have medical concerns. Anyone who is pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive is advised to consult with medical professionals to weigh up the risks of being vaccinated [GOV.UK: The safety of COVID-19 vaccines when given in pregnancy 5/1/21], and there are also concerns for anyone who has suffered from severe allergic reactions in the past [GOV.UK Confirmation of guidance to vaccination centres on managing allergic reactions following COVID-19 vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech-vaccine. Withdrawn 11/1/21].

Or you may find that you have staff who refuse on religious grounds, or because of other beliefs – ethical vegans, for instance, may refuse to have a vaccine that has been tested on animals.

Legal viewpoint

You should also note that the vaccination is not mandatory, and it looks unlikely that there will be any law making it so.

As highlighted in People Management recently, [People Management: Can employers force staff to have the Covid vaccine? 15/12/20] there are indirect measures that an employer can take to pressurise vaccination of their employees such as “refusing staff entry to certain parts of the workplace or certain roles, if they cannot demonstrate that they have been vaccinated”. That said, we wouldn’t recommend it and any such measures would need to be considered very carefully as you might run the risk of being subject to claims of discrimination or constructive dismissal.

Of course, where the care of vulnerable clients is involved, as an employer you may feel that your responsibility for their health and safety means that their carers should be vaccinated. However, there are other requirements that can keep them safe – such as PPE, cleaning and hygiene regimes, regular testing and social hygiene. In any case, guidance from the NHS still states that all these measures should be taken even if one is vaccinated, as no vaccine is believed to be 100 per cent effective.

An option for staff who have not been vaccinated, for whatever reason, is to allow them to work at home, if that is indeed an option, or to be deployed elsewhere, away from ill or vulnerable people. When considering this, you will of course have to ensure that they agree, they are not financially disadvantaged, that it doesn’t impact on their career in a negative way, or that it is in breach of their contract.

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, from recruitment through to exit.

Embrace HR changes in 2021

There has been a lot to take in over the past 10 months, with furlough schemes and lockdown laws, but before you raise a glass to the new year, take a moment to make a note of these changes…

It has been a tough year for many of us in the business world, and it is no surprise that the UK economy has shrunk by 11.3 per cent, and that it is forecast to take until 2022 to get back to the level it was at before Covid-19.

However, we will all move forward, and as we do so, we should make a note of some of the upcoming changes that will affect anyone involved in the management of HR.

National Living Wage

The first is that the National Living Wage (NLW – previously the national minimum wage) is set to go up in April. For staff aged 16 and 17 it will become £4.62 an hour and for those aged 23-plus it will be £8.91. See the table for full details:

Age Current rate 2021 rate Percentage increase
20-21 £8.20 £8.36 2%
18-20 £6.45 £6.56 1.7%
16-17 £4.55 £4.62 1.5%
Apprentice £4.15 £4.30 3.6%

End of Furlough Scheme

STOP PRESS 17/12/20: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the furlough scheme for one month until the end of April 2021.

The furlough scheme is set to end in March, so as you come back after the new year, plans around reintegrating staff, reviewing job descriptions and so on will need to be confirmed.

The CIPD is calling for the government to extend the scheme once more beyond the end date of 31 March 2021 [CIPD: CIPD calls on Chancellor to extend furlough scheme to the end of June to protect jobs 13/12/2020]. The independent professional body has asked that support should be gradually phased out, allowing companies some stability while the vaccination scheme is rolled out. It has said that the government should keep its contributions at 80 per cent for February and March, dropping them gradually through April, May and June.

As and when we hear more on this, we will update you.

Flexible Recruitment

If this year has shown anything, it is that many jobs can be done remotely, offering staff a better work life balance by dropping commuting time and offering the chance to work around family and caring commitments. Many companies have realised that they can also tap into a wider selection of candidates by taking their pick from potential employees located outside of commuting distance.

Now is a good time to ensure that you have policies in place for recruiting for remote-based jobs, if that is what you will do going forward, and reviewing your remote working policies around working hours, IT and security – if you didn’t do so during the first lockdown.

You might also like to review our previous blog on the subject of flexible working.

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 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.

Embrace Immigration pexels-taryn-elliott-5405596

As we head towards the end of 2020 and the UK finally leaves the EU, this will also mean the end of free movement to the UK. The UK Government is introducing a new points-based immigration system which will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally. This change comes into effect on the 1st January 2021.

Immigration Guidelines

The main work route into the UK will be via the Skilled Worker route [GOV.UK: The UK’s points-based immigration system: an introduction for employers 19/11/2020] which includes some of the below:

  • Intra-Company Transfers (including Graduates Trainees)
  • International Students & Graduates (including Graduate Immigration Route)
  • Health and Care Visa (to apply for the Health and Care Visa, the individual must be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional. They need to have a job offer from the NHS (or equivalent body) and the employer must be a licensed sponsor.)

From 1st January 2021 the Skilled Worker route replaces the current T2 General Visa and some of the rules have been relaxed:

  • Required skill level is now A-level equivalent.
  • Reduced salary threshold.
  • Resident Labour Market test is scrapped.

Under the new points-based immigration system, anyone coming to the UK for work must meet a specific set of requirements for which they will score points. A total of 70 points are required, made up of mandatory points and some points which are tradeable. All applicants must:

  • be applying for a job ‘at appropriate skill level’,
  • speak English,
  • and have a job offer from an approved sponsor.

In addition, they must have a salary offer which is competitive for the job they are applying for.

A sponsorship requirement will apply to the Skilled Worker route, to the Health and Care Visa and to the student route, as well as to some specialised worker routes. This applies to both EU and non-EU citizens who come on these routes. Although specific requirements vary by route, for most work routes, sponsors must undergo checks to demonstrate they are a genuine business, are solvent, and that the roles they wish to recruit into are credible and meet the salary and skills requirements (if applicable). Sponsors must also pay a licence fee (and Immigration Skills Charge, where required.)

Right to Work (RTW)

Employers may continue with current RTW checks for EU citizens up to 30 June 2021, eg, a passport can still be accepted as the only RTW document up to this date. After this date, it will be necessary for the employee to show their settled status documentation/visa.

Irish citizens will continue to prove their right to work in the UK as they do currently.

All passports must be valid for at least 6 months.

Driving Post EU Exit

Employees who are required to drive for work may have to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Existing EU Citizens

EU citizens currently working the UK must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they wish to continue working in the UK. The deadline is 30 June 2021. If, after the 30 June 2021 they have not applied for a visa then their continued employment will be unlawful.

The employee must take personal responsibility if the wish to continue working in the UK and, if they do not have settled status (or a visa) by the 30 June 2021 deadline, then their employment will be unlawful, and the employer will be fined if they continue working.

Required Actions for Employers & Case Managers

There are a number of actions required of the employer and/or case manager:

  • Review your existing workforce to identify who will be required to apply to the EU settlement scheme and if they wish to continue working in the UK.
  • The Employer cannot force an employee to apply.
  • It is reasonable for the Employer to have dialogue with the employee to enquire what their intentions are and to request that they keep the Employer informed of progress of their application under the settled status scheme (or their visa application).
  • The Employer will be required to take a copy of the employee’s new settled status documentation or visa and send a copy to the HR provider.

Immigration and EU Settlement HR Support

At Embrace HR we can assist with this process by providing the employer with a list of employees who, as per our records are currently EU citizens, in order that they may fulfil their obligations as set out above. We will record the information provided to us from the employer/employee.

Furthermore, if we do not receive the required evidence from the employer or the employee by 30 June 2021, we will contact the employer to inform them that the employee, according to our records, may be working unlawfully, and that employment may need to be terminated.

Employers and employees are welcome to contact Embrace HR Limited with any questions relating these new immigration rules.

T: 01296 761288 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.

Embrace HR furlough scheme

As the UK went into a second lockdown earlier this month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed that the furlough scheme would be extended. Find out how it applies to you and your employees…

Although the second UK lockdown is set to end at the beginning of December, Rishi Sunak has recognised that companies may be affected for longer than that and has therefore extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until the end of March 2021.

Like the original scheme, which was set up in March, the current plan will see the government paying 80% of employee’s wages, with a cap of £2,500 a month. The Chancellor said that his aim was to give businesses security over the winter period and to protect millions of jobs.

The scheme replaces the Job Support Scheme, which had initially been planned to be put in place once the first Furlough scheme came to an end, and it is good news for employees as this new plan is far more generous.

How does it work?

Employers are able to claim 80% of an employee’s salary for any hours not worked with a cap of £2,500 a month. You must confirm in writing to your employee that they have been furloughed and a written record of this must be kept for five years.

Who can be furloughed?

You must have been employing the member of staff on 30 October 2020 (and you must have made a PAYE RTI submission to the HMRC notifying a payment of earnings for them at any time between 20 March and 30 October 2020). This does not apply if you are employed as a member of staff after 23 September 2020.

It is important to note that you do not have to have made any claim on the furlough scheme before 30 October 2020.

How many employees can I claim for?

The extended furlough scheme has no upper limit on the number of employees you claim for and you are not limited to the staff that you claimed furlough for during the first lockdown in March.

What about staff on maternity leave?

If you have staff on maternity leave, who would rather be furloughed (because that pay will be higher than Statutory Maternity Pay), they must give you eight weeks’ notice to end their leave early.

I employ an apprentice, can they be furloughed?

Yes they can, and they can continue their training while on furlough, However, note that they must be receiving wages that are at least the same as the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage/National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage while they are training. So as an employer you must cover the shortfall between that amount and the amount you can claim for their wages.

I made my employee redundant…

If employees stopped working for you or were made redundant on or after 23 September 2020, it is possible to re-employ them and put them on the new furlough scheme.

There are a variety of rules for different employment conditions, you can check them here [GOV.UK: Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 14/05/20 Updated 19/11/20].

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 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.

Embrace HR help for businesses pexels-daria-shevtsova-2825936

Learn how the Job Support Scheme and Test and Trace Support payment schemes work for businesses…

STOP PRESS: Furlough Scheme extended from Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2 December in line with England’s second lockdown of 2020. Please note that despite the lockdown, Embrace HR will continue to operate virtually and are here to address any HR-related enquiries.

Last month, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced two schemes for businesses as we reported in a previous blog, both related to the coronavirus pandemic – the Job Support Scheme (JSS) and the Test and Trace Support Scheme.

Enhancements to the JSS were announced on 22 October and the revised scheme is now called the Job Support Scheme Open (JSS Open or JSSO) for businesses operating and the Job Support Scheme Closed (JSSC) which is intended for those businesses that cannot operate. A comprehensive explanation can be found on the Gov.co.uk website.

In this blog, we look at both the JSS Open and the Test and Trace Support schemes in more detail.

Job Support Scheme Open

The aim of the JSSO is to protect jobs that may otherwise be under threat over the winter due to Covid-19 and to help avoid redundancy where possible. While the furlough scheme saw the government paying the majority of the employees’ wages, even though they were not working, now it will be up to the employer to cover those hours not worked, with some support from the government.

The original Job Support Scheme required employers to pay a third of the wage for hours not worked, while the government also paid a third. However, as of 22 October, the Chancellor announced changes to the scheme, providing further support for businesses already impacted by the pandemic, such as:

  • Reducing the employer contribution for unworked hours to 5%, and
  • Reducing, the minimum hours requirement from 33% to 20%, so those working just one day a week will still be eligible.

The good news is that if your business uses the JSSO, you will still be able to take advantage of the Job Retention Bonus (JRB) if you meet the criteria for eligibility. This gives companies a £1,000 one-off taxable payment for each eligible member of staff that was furloughed and is continuously employed by you until 31 January 2021. The bonus can be claimed between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021.

The JSSO opens on 1 November and runs until April 2021. It is open to any company that has a UK bank account and runs UK PAYE schemes. Important to note is that you do not need to have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) to be eligible.

While the government advice states that your turnover must be lower than it was before Covid-19, it also adds that there will be no financial assessment for SMEs. However, there will be for large companies.

For your employees to be eligible they must have been on your payroll on or before 23 September 2020 and a Real Time Information submission showing payment to the employee to HMRC must have been made on or before that date. This is documented via the link below. They must also work at least 20 per cent of their usual hours.

There is no requirement to be constantly on the scheme – so you could have team members who are on the scheme one week, if the business is quiet, but if trade picks up the following week they may come off it. However, each cycle must be at least seven days.

The figures:

  • The government contribution to each member of staff is capped at £1541.75 per month.
  • Payments will be made in arrears, so the government will pay back their contribution to the employer.
  • Employers are responsible for Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions (they are not covered by the grant).
  • If your employee was furloughed, their ‘usual wages’, not their furlough pay, will be used in grant calculations.
  • Employers must pay the contracted rate for any hours worked.
  • It appears that the government is not expecting employers to ‘top up’ the money for hours not worked, over and above the 5 per cent they must pay.
  • You cannot make an employee redundant or give notice of redundancy if you are claiming the Job Support Scheme grant for them.
  • Claims can be made from December 2020, through Gov.uk, and the grant will be paid on a monthly basis.

Further detail can be found online at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/928761/JSS_Open_factsheet.pdf

Test and Trace

Via the Test and Trace scheme, people on lower incomes, who are unable to work from home, will be supported by a £500 payment if they have to self-isolate.

More important for employers to know is that a range of fines have been implemented for those breaching self-isolation rules – and stopping others from self-isolating. This means that employers who insist on staff coming into the workplace when they are required to self-isolate, or threaten them with redundancy, could be liable to fines of anywhere between £1,000 and £10,000.

Please also be aware that NHS Test and Trace call handlers will be in regular contact with self-isolating people and will escalate any suspicion of non-compliance to local authorities and local police.

In this instance, your employees will be responsible for claiming the Test and Trace support from their local authority directly.

This scheme came into effect from 28 September 2020.

If you would like to discuss the above in more detail, and/or the impact on your business, please don’t hesitate to contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 761288 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.

EMBRACING WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY

In a year of considerable change and uncertainty, we have to work harder to protect our mental health. As a HR Manager or Team Leader, your attitude and actions can also help the resilience of your team.

Every employee was recruited because they offered skills, knowledge, experience and potential that your organisation needed. In a challenging year, this talent should be retained and optimised. A team with good mental health is productive, motivated and able to make valuable contributions. So, what measures need to be in place to help everyone to cope?

Every Mind Matters

This year, World Mental Health Day focuses on providing support to people within the workplace. In this article, we particularly focus on Every Mind Matters. This NHS campaign focuses on the well-being of children and young people, so how is that relevant to your workplace?

Working Parents

Some of your team are likely to be parents. In the last 6 months, their children will have missed out on opportunities that should be part of everyday life. The closure of schools, clubs, childcare facilities and leisure activities has affected their ability to socialise, learn and develop.

There have been extra pressures on working parents, including home-schooling and childcare. The continuing impact of Covid-19 on their children weighs heavy on their mind. In a Public Health survey, 52% of parents stated that the mental well-being of their children was their biggest concern. Many wanted more advice on how to support their children.

You can help by raising awareness of the ‘Every Mind Matters’ campaign. The website includes online resources and advice for parents. In addition, there may be ways to establish support networks within your team. If possible, specialist training or group coaching could help address parents’ concerns. These measures will build the confidence and resilience of your working parents.

Workplace Apprentices

Your organisation may employ young people as apprentices or in junior roles. The start of their career is likely to have been disrupted by Covid-19, along with their home and social lives. To help them remain positive, motivated and productive, it is important to talk. Maintain regular communication that expands beyond technical training.

You may not relate to the issues faced by young people, but the ‘Every Mind Matters’ website has a section dedicated to young people’s well-being. It includes videos and links to charities who offer support.

Within the workplace, mental health can also be bolstered by the routine of work, good support from colleagues and recognition of the contribution they are making to the team.

The Return to Work

If employees have been working from home or furloughed, the return to work may be particularly stressful. With new procedures in place, it is another change to their routine that may bring mental health challenges to the fore.

Communication, care and collaboration will optimise physical and mental well-being during the transition. Our article on Work-life after Lockdown offers advice on how to minimise the impact of returning to work.

Solutions-focused Mental Health Support

As a company that values the mental health of your employees, it is important to develop a culture of empathy. Individuals need to feel confident that they can talk in confidence about the challenges they are facing. The priority for those involved in those disclosures is simply to listen. By that, we mean actively listen, without distraction.

The role of the HR Manager or Team Leader is not to diagnose or judge. The aim of any discussions should be on providing solutions-focused support. Signposting to relevant internal or external resources, such as ‘Every Mind Matters’, can be helpful.

#WorldMentalHealthDay #EveryMindMatters

If your organisation would benefit from additional HR support, please don’t hesitate to contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 761288 or contact us here.

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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.