There are a number of options available to employers who can't bring employees back to work on their pre-Covid contractual terms:
- Consult with employees to reduce working hours and/or pay on a temporary or permanent basis.
- Consider statutory layoff or short-time working, if the contract allows for this. If it doesn't you will need to consult with staff and have their agreement to implement this.
- Ask employees for volunteers to take unpaid leave.
- Redundancies may have to be considered.
The end of furlough alone won’t be a sufficient reason for a redundancy situation. Employers will still have to meet the usual criteria for a redundancy situation and show that work has, or is expected to cease or diminish. If this is the case then a normal redundancy procedure can commence.
Ensure legal advice is taken before commencing any of these options.
There have been four changes to SSP:
- SSP is now payable from day one of sickness
- The first 14 days of SSP are reclaimable from the government
- Employees who are not sick but who are isolating in line with public health England/Wales advice are entitled to SSP
- Employees can provide an isolation note, available from NHS 111 as opposed to a fit note from the doctor.
SSP has been extended to those employees who have been told to self-isolate under the new track and trace system. This is where a person has been notified that they have been in contact with a person with COVID-19 and therefore must self-isolate for 14 days, they will be entitled to be paid SSP.
If you're put at risk of redundancy, your employer has to follow a fair redundancy process and consult with you.
This is dependent on the size of your employer and how many employees are at risk of redundancy so you should take specific advice if you’re in this situation. The amount you are paid for redundancy is dependent upon your age, length or service and weekly salary.
If you’ve been advised to self-isolate because you or someone in your household has symptoms, you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
You may be entitled to company sick pay depending on your contract of employment. You are also entitled to SSP if you've been told to self isolate under the track and trace scheme.
Being advised to self-isolate because you're vulnerable is not the same as self-isolating because you have symptoms or because someone in your household does, and you are therefore not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
You should speak to your employer about the option to work from home; if this isn’t possible you can ask your employer to furlough you. If you do not attend work, this must be in agreement with your employer.
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