Another challenging year ahead, navigating the direct and indirect effects of Covid-19 and Brexit – I hope this information is helpful and please feel free to pass on to others you think it may help.
The Furlough Scheme extension runs to 30th April 2021 and now includes employees who are unable to work because of childcare issues, even if they have not been furloughed previously. The Scheme also extends to those unable to work due to their caring responsibilities for a vulnerable individual in their household.
Kay’s comment: Please note that employers remain responsible for NI and pension contributions for hours not worked under the Scheme. Also, if an employee becomes sick whilst being furloughed, employers can keep them on the furloughed rate of pay and claim back these costs, rather than moving them onto statutory sick pay.
The National Living Wage is being extended to include workers aged 23 – 24 and over, increasing to £8.91 p/hr. The NMW for 21-22 year olds will be £8.36; for 18 to 20 year olds £6.56; for 16-17 year olds to £4.62 and the apprenticeship rate £4.30. Statutory maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption pay will be £151.97 and Statutory Sick Pay will be £96.35 p/week.
All current employment legislation still applies in post-Brexit UK. EU citizens residing in the UK prior to 31st December 2020 are still eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme up to 30th June 2021. From 1st January 2021 the UK implemented a points-based immigration system applicable to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens (excluding most Irish citizens) that prioritises a person’s skills and talent over where they come from. EU citizens can continue to visit the UK for up to six months without applying for a visa, that may include short-term study and business meetings.
Changes to the off-payroll tax legislation (IR35) will now take place from 6 April 2021. Under the new regime, the onus will shift from the intermediary to the end user to make a status determination and apply to all medium and large businesses.
Kay’s comment: Small businesses are exempt, but they have to meet two of the following criteria: have a turnover of £10.2M or less; have a balance sheet total of £5.1M or less; have 50 employees or less. Check your size and if the new rules affect your independent contractors, then review their employment status, contracts and pay accordingly.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training is a comprehensive two-day awareness and skills course which teaches people to recognise crucial warning signs of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis, similar to physical first aid. Introducing MHFA into organisations not only helps individuals, but also encourages more openness about mental health, reducing the stigma of discussing mental health issues and concerns.
Kay’s comment: Having attended Mental Health First Aid training online last year, I can highly recommend it, not just to help others but yourself too! As an extra incentive, you can receive a 25% discount if you book a place for the above course direct via trainer, Tanya Sammut at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t worry if you can’t make these dates, Tanya will be adding extra dates shortly.
FREE WELLBEING GUIDE – Bupa Foundation – useful tips and advice on how to support your team’s wellbeing
RECENT BLOG POST – HR Article: Resilience Culture: This builds on from a previous article I wrote about Resilience at Work and includes a series of questions to help you explore your own resilience culture.
Please Note: The information contained in this news update is provided for your general use only. It should not be treated as a substitute for obtaining professional employment advice on specific issues.