We hope that all our customers, workers and suppliers remain safe in these challenging times. We at Opus are keen to support as much as possible as we move through the different stages being faced.
On Friday 27th March, the government announced further guidance on the Job Retention Scheme.
The key points being:
-The Job Retention Scheme is available to Employment Agencies and Umbrella Companies for eligible PAYE workers.
-The scheme does not apply to employees who started assignments after 28th February 2020.
-Furlough must be for a minimum period of 3 weeks.
-The job retention scheme initially runs to the end of May, however can apply to roles furloughed since March 1st.
-Furlough cannot apply to those whose hours have been reduced, or partially applied (i.e. furloughing someone for 2 days so they can work for the remaining 3 days of their typical 5 day assignment).
-Furloughed workers must not undertake any work for their employer during their furlough period.
-Workers placed in training must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage.
During this period we have been working with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (who represent the majority of recruitment organisations in the UK), and external professionals to establish a way forward for our customers, workers and suppliers and hoped to be able provide greater clarity at this stage, however there are still many unanswered questions to work through.
Although it is pleasing that the Government have taken measures to support the income of individuals directly affected by the crisis, we must gain further clarification on how the scheme can be applied, especially when the customers we work with are in the public sector.
The Government is very keen for public sector workers to remain available for work to help in this time of crisis. Being effectively paid by the Government is a factor as the guidance released is for public sector organisations to not furlough workers.
For the full government guidance on the measures put in place, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19