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Work and coronavirus

Being furloughed if you can’t work

Your employer can use the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to pay you while there is no work to do.  Your employer will need to classify you as a ‘furloughed worker‘.

This only applies if you are not working, if you are working from home then you should be paid normally.  If you have returned to work under the ‘flexible furlough’ scheme then you should be paid in full for the hours you do work.  Only those hours you are not working can be paid at the furlough rate of 80%. for more information.

From 1 November the furlough scheme will be replaced by the Job Support Scheme.

See citizensadvice.org.uk and www.acas.org.uk for more information.

Redundancy

If you are at risk of redundancy now or when the furlough scheme ends there are several things you should check.

  1. Read your contract.  You may have rights in your contract in addition to the rights you have under the law.  Your contract should make it clear what your employment status is and what to expect of the redundancy process.  If you do not have a written contract of employment contact us for more help.
  2. Is your redundancy fair?  We can help you to challenge your redundancy if you think you have been treated unfairly.  You may be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal if you can demonstrate you were chosen for redundancy because of an ‘automatically unfair’ reason or due to discrimination. We can support you in making the next steps, and finding access to free legal advice (you may have ‘legal expenses cover’ under your home insurance).
  3. What if you are offered another job?  There are rules your employer must follow if they offer you another job, you are entitled to a trial period and if you don’t want to accept the new job you may still be entitled to redundancy pay.
  4. Redundancy pay – you are entitled to statutory redundancy pay if you have worked for your employer for more than 2 years.  Check here to see how much you may be entitled to.  If you have been furloughed then your redundancy pay should be based on your normal wages.
  5. Notice period:  As long as you have worked for more than 1 month you are entitled to a paid notice period, you may be entitled to more depending on your contract.  Your employer may ask you to use up holiday during your notice period but they must give you adequate notice.
  6. Preparing for life after redundancy.  If you have been employed for more than 2 years you are entitled to ‘reasonable’ time off to look for new work or go on training.  We can help you with benefits advice and budgeting.

If you are self employed

If your income has dropped because of coronavirus then you may be able to get help from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Apply online at GOV.UK

HMRC will calculate your average profits from tax returns submitted over the last 3 tax years and you will receive one payment to cover the length of the scheme.  You can find out more about the rules on GOV.UK

If you are not eligible for this scheme there is other help available:

  • Self Assessment payments have been deferred for one year
  • Grants for businesses
  • Increased rates of Universal Credit
  • Business Interruption Loan Scheme

If you are self-employed but trade through a limited company and pay yourself through PAYE then you may be entitled to the Job Retention Scheme support.

See GOV.UK for more information.

Your rights at work

If you have been treated differently at work because of who you are – because you are a woman, because you are pregnant, because of your race or your religion – this is discrimination and it is illegal under the Equality Act 2010.  Citizens Advice has an online tool which helps you decide if your problem at work is discrimination.

Working Families is a charity which offers legal advice for families and carers.  They have FAQs about your rights at work as a parent or carer as well as a helpline 0300 012 0312

If you need to take time off work to care for someone there is advice on the Acas.org.uk website

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