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If the workplace needs to close temporarily

Please see the following advice from Acas

An employer may want to plan in case they need to close the workplace temporarily. Some employers have been instructed to close by the government. This includes cafés, pubs, restaurants, leisure centres, cinemas and theatres.

This might be a difficult time for both employers and staff. It’s a good idea to make sure staff have a way to communicate with the employer and other people they work with.

Government financial support

The government is providing financial support for employers affected by coronavirus disruption.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government will be introducing the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’. This means employers can access financial support to continue paying the wages of employees who are temporarily sent home because there’s no work. These staff are called ‘furloughed’ workers.

To access the scheme, employers will need to designate relevant staff as furloughed workers. The employer needs to get agreement from the worker to do this, unless it’s covered by a clause in the employment contract. Any furlough agreements should be in writing. It’s a good idea to include: the date furlough starts when it will be reviewed how to keep in contact during furlough A worker will stay employed while they are furloughed, but they must not work.

HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs to employers, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Employers will be able to make a claim for the money once HMRC’s new system is available. If employers need short term cash flow support, they may be eligible for a ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan’.

Lay-offs and short-time working

In some situations, an employer might need to close down their business for a short time, or ask staff to reduce their contracted hours. If the employer thinks they’ll need to do this, it’s important to talk with staff as early as possible and throughout the closure. Unless it says in the contract or is agreed otherwise, they still need to pay their employees for this time.

Employees who are laid off and are not entitled to their usual pay might be entitled to a ‘statutory guarantee payment’ of up to £29 a day from their employer. This is limited to a maximum of 5 days in any period of 3 months.

On days when a guarantee payment is not payable, employees might be able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance from Jobcentre Plus. Find out more about: lay-offs and short-time working your nearest Jobcentre Plus on GOV.UK

Using holiday

Employers have the right to tell employees and workers when to take holiday if they need to. For example, they can decide to shut for a week and everyone has to use their holiday entitlement. If the employer does decide to do this, they must tell staff at least twice as many days before as the amount of days they need people to take. For example, if they want to close for 5 days, they should tell everyone at least 10 days before. This could affect holiday staff have already booked or planned. So employers should: explain clearly why they need to close try and resolve anyone’s worries about how it will affect their holiday entitlement or plans

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