Many businesses have been affected by the recent announcement from the Prime Minister to work from home if possible. For many, it's a welcome return to pyjamas and zoom calls, but for those who cannot work from home, what happens then?
Many employees are working from home again, but what if your employees can't?
The furlough scheme was closed last year so it seems that employees who can't work from home, and that means those working for businesses both large and small, are a little stuck without any Government support. With Boris sticking to Plan B for now, it seems unlikely that any further support schemes will be announced anytime soon.
But there are things you can do to ease the pain:
It may be worth looking at redeploying staff to non-customer facing roles or to cover for sickness, self-isolation or holidays
You could agree with staff to use their annual leave allowance
You could enforce annual leave, but must give them twice as much notice as you're telling them to take
Arrange for time any off in lieu to be taken now
Short hours is always an option. You'll need to pay the statutory guarantee pay of £30 per day for non-worked days up to a maximum of the employees normal working week in each 13 week period. You will also need a clause to allow short hours in your employment contracts and express confirmation that no work in a short hours situation means no pay.
"Employees may not like short hours, but the alternative could be redundancy!"
Lastly, you could consider a privately funded furlough if you have enough spare cash in the business (or wish to add more funds yourself in the form of a loan to the company). It is unlikely that any employment contract clauses you added because of the Government's Job Retention Scheme would apply here, so it would be wise to consult an HR expert first.
Whichever way you manage the current 'work from home if you can' directive from the Government, get consent to ensure you're not accused of unlawful deduction of wages.
Until next time ...
ROGER EDDOWES Business Godparent
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Roger trained at Edward Thomas Peirson & Sons in Market Harborough before working at Hartwell & Co, followed by Chancery, as a partner. He started Essendon Accounts and Tax with Helen Beaumont in 2014 as a general practitioner with a hands-on approach.
Roger loves getting his hands dirty, working with emerging, small-to-medium and family businesses to ensure they receive the best possible accountancy advice. Roger utilises an extensive network of business contacts to leverage the best guidance and practical solutions.
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