May HR Updates – Furlough, Long Covid & some free resources on mental health in the workplace.

Changes to furlough scheme eligibility

The Job Retention Scheme can, from 1 May 2021, be used for an employee who was employed on 2 March 2021 and payment of earnings have been notified to HMRC via RTI submission between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021. Previous rules required employment on 30 October 2020.

Remember to check with your accountant or payroll teams for the current guidelines.

 Shielding and furlough

The government has confirmed that those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to serious illness if they catch Covid are still eligible for furlough even though shielding has ended across England, Scotland and Wales.

 As Long-Covid becomes more of an issue, ACAS has provided advice to organisations on the steps they should take to support staff in this situation.

As we are all increasingly aware, Covid-19 can cause symptoms for some people that can last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is now widely known as Long-Covid and, according to ACAS, it is having an impact on businesses as affected workers try to get back to work.

Given that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has estimated that over one million people have reported experiencing Long-Covid, ACAS has decided to issue an advice note.

We have yet to see this from our side, however we do anticipate that this will start to become more of a focus as teams return to the work environment, the difficulty will be on how to get a clear diagnosis as opposed to other more common illnesses.

Website championed by Prince William looks to raise the awareness of mental health at work and improve employee wellbeing.

Earlier this week, Prince William officially launched a new website designed to improve mental well-being in the workplace. The website, entitled ‘Mental Health at Work’, has been funded by the Royal Foundation and created in partnership with mental health charity Mind.

This website will be open to all organisations and offers a number of free to use resources designed for both employers and their staff. Their resources page is brilliant and offers a huge amount of information for both individuals and employers – Go check it out !

 Updated national minimum wage guidance

The government has updated its guidance on ‘sleep in shifts’ and the national minimum wage due to the recent Court ruling, people on an overnight shift who are expected to sleep for all or most of the shift are not entitled to NMW for all of the shift – only time spent awake for the purpose of working.

The position is different where workers are expected to perform activities for all or most of a shift and are only permitted to sleep between tasks where possible, such as napping when not busy.

If you are in this sector, check out the new updated Minimum wage pages on the government website to see how this might affect you and your teams.

 

Abolition of shared parental leave?

Following what has been a complete phaff for the last few years, in terms of vastly over engineered policies and actual usage (parental leave has never moved above 2 per cent of those eligible for it),   activists and unions are now calling for shared parental leave to be abolished and replaced with something that gives parents more untransferable paid time off.

We are awaiting further information on what this might look like and will update you again when we know more.

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