From today 16 August 2021, the rules regarding the requirement to self-isolate change, which will be welcomed by employers following a huge increase in employees who were “pinged” by the NHS app in recent weeks, causing further disruption to businesses.
People in England and Northern Ireland, who have had two COVID jabs, will no longer be required now to isolate for 10 days if they been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus.
Instead, staff should be encouraged to take a PCR test, wear a face covering in enclosed spaces and limit contact with others.
People who test positive for Covid-19, or show symptoms, will still be required by law to self-isolate for 10 days and should continue to follow government guidance.
Furlough scheme ending
The current government furlough scheme ends on 30 September 2021, and many organisations still have staff on full or flexi furlough. Although the numbers have dropped dramatically to around 1.9 million, some 3 million down from March 2021, what does this mean for companies who are and will continue to struggle financially or simply do not have adequate work for those employees? Redundancy should be the last resort for many reasons, not only of course redundancy costs, but also the loss of talent out of an organisation. There are alternatives to consider such as recruitment freezes, redeployment, freezing or delaying wage increases, not paying a discretionary bonus, or terminating temporary or agency employees in accordance with their contracts. These are all strategies that businesses should think about before deciding to implement compulsory redundancies.
The team at Black Mountain are available to discuss your plans and concerns and to help devise a redundancy process/selection criteria. It is crucial that just because staff have been on furlough that they are not automatically selected for redundancy.
Firms handing back furlough money
In the newspapers today, it appears that for some Retailers business is booming. Primark are reportedly handing back £121 million to HMRC and is one of around 125,000 employers to have voluntarily returned furlough cash that was used to help cover 80 per cent of workers’ salaries. Companies including furniture store Ikea, house builders Barratt and Taylor Wimpey and contractor Serco are also among those that have handed back furlough money. Halfords, who remained open as an ‘essential retailer’, said they would pay back £10.7million after experiencing ‘stronger than anticipated’ sales.
This document is purely a guidance and is not to be read as legal advice. The team at Black Mountain are as always available to guide you through the forthcoming changes. Our advice is subject to Government updates/legislation changes/guidance.