As anticipated, on Friday night the government issued new guidance on changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) from 1 July 2020. This should allow employers to plan their strategy in relation to staff for the coming months with a little more certainty.
Under these new arrangements, employers will be able to bring furloughed staff back to work on a part-time basis, but continue to make a claim under the CJRS for any normal hours not worked. They will also be required to start contributing to their employees’ wage and other costs from August.
However, it is fair to say that the government has not gone out of its way to make the changes easy for employers to understand – not least because it has not only updated three existing pieces of advice on the scheme, but also spun out some of the more complicated issues into (so far) five new pieces of guidance. Expecting employers to navigate around eight pieces of guidance and two Treasury Directions (with a third no doubt on the way to reflect these changes) is a big ask. And that is even before you start trying to do any of the detailed calculations required in this new guidance, which seem wholly over-engineered for a scheme with an intended lifespan of only four months, not to mention ultimately ineffective.
We have therefore created an interactive Next Steps Roadmap to assist setting out the key employment law milestones you need to note in relation not only to the CJRS, but also the other main issues that employers will need to consider over the coming months as they re-open, including:
- Key dates and detailed FAQs in relation to the changes to the CJRS
- Suggested strategic steps for back-to-work planning, including Return to Work FAQs covering the trickier employment, health and safety and data privacy issues arising
- COVID-19 immigration FAQs
- Analysis of issues flowing from the likely increase in flexible working requests
- Deadlines for collective consultation