We all live in difficult and scary times and many of the priorities we thought were important just aren’t any more.
It's been a crazy month, with pubs and schools now closed and, based on other countries' Covid-19 statistics, we haven't even started yet.
Many have already lost their jobs, are trying to work from home, and if you are self-employed, it's been really tough to keep existing arrangements going. The Government has correctly taken swift action in unprecedented style, and it looks like we're going to need it. Just to head off any cynics, in the economic meltdown of 2008, huge numbers of good jobs and good businesses were lost, and it took ages to get the economy back on its feet, because it had fallen so far. The Bank of England has also cut interest rates to 0.1% and is pouring money into the UK economy.
The Government is aiming to slow (probably won't halt) losses to ensure that the fall is lessened and the recovery quicker. But what are they proposing in their announcements of 20 March 2020 with regards to wages / salaries?
The devil is in the detail, but the headlines are (and by the way if you are 'furloughed' from work, this apparently means 'grant leave of absence to'. You learn something new every day!).
If your employer intends to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, they will discuss with you becoming classified as a furloughed worker. This would mean that you are kept on your employer's payroll, rather than being laid off.
To qualify for this scheme, you should not undertake work for them while you are furloughed. This will allow your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of your wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
You will remain employed while furloughed. Your employer could choose to fund the differences between this payment and your salary, but does not have to.
If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.
The Government intends for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to run for at least 3 months from 01 March 2020, but will extend if necessary.
More can be found on the Government website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees
We of course are not responsible for their website content.
We hope this update helps at these dark times. Stay safe please!