Coronavirus Updates

Furlough FAQ's (19.05.2020)

Information from the Government is changing on a daily basis. When measures are issued or updated by the Government we will inform you but please understand that
considerations need to be taken and decisions need to be made in relation to employee
welfare and business needs.

What is Furlough?

Furlough is when you are not required to attend work but are still employed by the Company and paid Furlough through the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Although you will not be provided with work during Furlough leave, you must return to work when we ask you to so be prepared that this could be at short notice.  If you are not available when we ask you to return we may treat this as a breach of contract and this may affect your payment under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

How do I know if I’m on Furlough?

We will contact you in writing either by post or email to inform you we propose to make you a Furloughed Worker.

I haven’t received a Furlough letter – what does this mean?

This means that the Company has not made you a Furloughed Worker. The Company is looking at all workers and the work that is available with our customers. Not all Flexi-Workers will be Furloughed.

What is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS)?

The Job Retention Scheme (JRS) is a Government grant that allows companies to continue to pay workers during the COVID-19 pandemic even when there is no work available.

What is the criteria to be furloughed and paid through the Job Retention Scheme?

You must:
  • Be employed by the Company and on our payroll on or before 19 March 2020;
  • you must have appeared on a Real Time Information (RTI) return to HMRC on or before 19 March. This means that you must have received wages from us on or before 19 March. If you were on our payroll before 19 March, but have not received any wages from us and do not appear on an RTI return until after that date, you are not eligible for the Job Retention Scheme; and,
  • you must have a National Insurance Number. If you do not have a National Insurance Number then you will not qualify for the Job Retention Scheme. If you have a National Insurance Number please make sure you have given it to us.

What will I get paid through the JRS?

You will receive up to 80% (to a maximum of £2,500 per month gross) of your pay calculated at the higher of either: the average weekly amount you earned in the same month last year, or, an average weekly amount of your monthly earnings from the last tax year.  The payment made to you shall be subject to normal deductions including Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions in the usual way.

When will I get paid?

Once you have received a letter from us informing you we wish to make you a Furloughed Worker, we will send you a text message notifying you when you will receive your first payment. Please ensure we have your correct telephone number to text you.

How long will this be for?

The Job Retention Scheme was due to run until the end of June 2020. However, this has been extended by the Government until October 2020, although there will be some changes to the scheme from August 2020. We are awaiting further guidance on what those changes will be. As it stands, your Furlough Leave shall end on the earliest of the following events: –
  • The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ending
  • Either you or us ceasing to be eligible for funding under that scheme
  • Us deciding to cancel your Furlough Leave
  • We ask you to return to work

Can I take up alternative employment?

You can take up alternative employment but you must be available for work when we call you. If you are not then we may bring your assignment to an end and we will bring your Furlough to an end and all payment under the Job Retention Scheme will stop. If you take up a second job please tell your local representative straight away or email furlough@singleresource.co.uk or furlough@extrapersonnel.co.uk (whichever company you work for).

Will I get emergency taxed if I take up a second job?

Yes possibly, you will need to speak with HMRC regarding this.

I have holiday booked, should I cancel it?

Yes, as you will be receiving Furlough pay you can save your holiday to take at another time. If you receive a letter from us confirming you are a Furlough worker and have pre-booked holiday during your furlough leave, please email furlough@singleresource.co.uk or furlough@extrapersonnel.co.uk (whichever company you work for) to inform us and we’ll cancel it for you.

Can I take holiday while on Furlough?

You are not required to work while on furlough leave and will be receiving Furlough pay. We therefore won’t be accepting holiday requests so that you can save your holiday and take it at a later date.

I have holiday that I have accrued but not taken, what happens to that?

Any holiday you have accrued but not taken will be carried over into the next holiday year.

Can I volunteer?

Yes, you can volunteer to assist in the fight against Coronavirus.  You must inform us if you are volunteering. The NHS have asked for volunteers, if you are interested information can be found here https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS and https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS

Can I receive Universal Credit?

We cannot advise you on this. You may be entitled to payments under the universal credit scheme please refer to the government guidance that can be found here https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

What will happen about my pension contributions?

Contribution percentages will remain the same but the monetary amounts being paid into your pension will be lower as your gross pay will be lower.

I am due to go on maternity leave, what will happen to my pay?

Furloughed workers planning to take paid parental or adoption leave will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings rather than a furloughed pay rate, the government announced on 24 April.
Entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay, as well as the other forms of Parental or Adoption Pay, are currently calculated through someone’s average earnings over an 8-week assessment period. For Maternity Allowance, entitlement and the rate payable is also determined by looking at average earnings over a 13 week period.
The statutory instrument laid in Parliament will ensure workers whose period of family-related pay begins on or after 25 April will be assessed on their usual, full pay.
The changes will ensure those intending to take time off following the birth, adoption, or death of a child will not see their entitlement to pay affected as a result of being furloughed in the wake of the impacts of COVID-19.

COVID-19 FAQ's (19.05.2020)

Information from the Government is changing on a daily basis. When measures are issued or updated by the Government we will inform you but please understand that
considerations need to be taken and decisions need to be made in relation to employee
welfare and business needs.

What are the rules for self-isolation?

Individuals who have recognised symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and stay away from work for 7 days from the day your symptoms started. Recognised symptoms currently include:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

If you live with someone with the above symptoms, you should self-isolate and stay away from work for 14 days from the day their symptoms started.

If you have recently returned to the UK from any overseas country (except Republic of Ireland), we may ask you to self-isolate.

You can find more information about COVID-19 symptoms and what to do if you or someone you live with has symptoms via https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

I have an underlying medical condition, what will happen?

The Government have cited the following as most at risk:

You are aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions).

You are under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):

  • Chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease,multiple sclerosis, a learning disability or cerebral palsy
  • Diabetes
  • Problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
  • A weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • Being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
  • Those who are pregnant
  • People who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing
    immunosuppression medication
  • People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
  • People with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
  • People with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)

If you have any of the conditions listed above, please speak to your local representatives who have been fully briefed on how to manage the current situation.

I live with a person with an underlying health condition, what should happen?

The Government advice is, if you can, move any vulnerable individuals out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period. If you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible and follow the prevention hygiene rules. However, you should continue to attend work as normal and highlight any serious concerns you have to your local representative.

What will happen if one of my colleagues has to self-isolate because they have symptoms?

That person will self-isolate for the duration required but everybody else should continue working as normal unless advised otherwise. Offices will only be closed where we are advised to do so by Public Health England.

What will I get paid?

Workers self-isolating with/without symptoms will receive SSP if you are eligible. You must report your absence as per normal procedures and provide a Covid-19 Self-Certificate Form to claim SSP.

Please note new self-certificate form; we have created our own self-certificate which combines the current Government self-certificate and additional details we require in these circumstances; it lasts for 7 days. You must complete the form and send it to sicknotes@thestaffinggroup.co.uk.
We will not accept any other form of self-certificate. Any self-certificates that are incomplete or incorrect will be sent back to you, so please ensure you complete it in full.

You can obtain the form from your local representative.

Any SSP due for more than 7 days will be paid subject to appropriate documentation being provided.

Isolating due to care of children (or other family member) – you will be unavailable for work in this instance so it will be unpaid.

What if I feel better and my symptoms clear before the end of the 7 day isolation period?

You will need to isolate for the full 7 days and cannot return sooner.

Can I book holiday rather than receive SSP during self-isolation?

No, you are required to give two weeks’ notice to book holiday as per your Flexi-Worker Handbook. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will be paid SSP.

What should I do when I’m ready to return to work?

Before returning to work, you must call your local representative and advise them that you are ready to do so. You will be asked to participate in a telephone return to work meeting.

I’m worried about Covid-19, what should I do?

Covid-19 is a global health pandemic and we understand that you may have concerns. You should ensure that you follow the advice issued by the Government, NHS and World Health Organisation and the information given on this page.

Where can I obtain further advice?

You are able to refer to the UK Government website, which is updated daily at 2pm or to the NHS website. We do advise all staff to keep themselves updated of any changes.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19