30th March JRS

To all clients,
Firstly, our secure drop box is now installed at Doncaster (rear of the building) so you can now drop off records at any time. Please do however e-mail us when you have done so in order that we know when there is something to collect. 
Drop offs at Sheffield are within normal office hours. The outer doors are locked so please ring the bell and Mandy will come out to collect from the door step. Please note we are not meeting clients so this is only to drop off and not to have a conversation or meet up.
Secondly, As you can imagine we have received many requests from clients for clarification on the Job Retention Scheme and its impact on their own payroll/business. We have tried to summarise these FAQ’s and also added some other information on specific issues that we have raised internally. Please see the points below:
• Directors of SME’s can be furloughed.  As we already knew this will only repay their small salary and the dividend part is lost.  However solicitors, DLS are advising many directors against furlough as legally they cannot do any work for their company during furlough.  They can furlough their staff and continue to work themselves. You should not be on Furlough if you are doing any work – this includes answering e-mails!
• It has been suggested that employees use holiday time while furloughed, as you can imagine not a lot of them will want to do this especially as the government is now giving them two years to use accrued holidays held over.  DLS recommend that any staff who had pre booked holidays are told they still have to use them  - this seems harsh to me.  This helps the employer after staff return to work as he will have less holiday pay to shell out and he will not have a potential bottleneck of staff wanting to take holidays.  The rule however is that holidays taken on furlough have to be paid at full rate so the employer has to pay the additional 20%,  Still  a good saving further down the line.
• Reminder - next week SSP rises from £94.25 to £95.85 a week
• While you can be furloughed from more than one job if you have multiple employments at February 2020 you cannot start a new job.  If you do then it would have to be treated as you leaving your first employment and handing in notice and receiving a P45.
• Notice whilst on furlough – like holiday pay any notice period must be paid at 100% so will require a top up of 20% by the employer.
• Paternity pay  – the official line is that you must look at the reason for the absence and pay accordingly.  However it has been suggested that as furlough is more beneficial to both parties if you are going on furlough anyway just forget about the paternity leave!
• Zero hour contract workers – if calculating their pay before 5 April use the last 12 weeks after 5 April it is the average of the last 12 months.
• The minimum period of time any employee can be placed on furlough is 3 weeks.  Thereafter furlough continues to be treated in 3 week segments, there is no official guidance yet as to what happens at the end of the 3 months this scheme is being run for but the expectation is that it will be extended and will be around for some time to come.
The portal and scheme has still not been released/launched. We do know however, that a claim needs to be made by the employer and this can be done after 3 weeks of furlough starting. We shall be putting in this claim for you but we do need details of employees that you want to be put on furlough with the start date. We also need to know if you are topping up the 80% (it can be an extra 5% or up to the 20%).
Please note that on the furloughed amount the company does not have to pay the employers NI or minimum statutory pension contribution. If you contribute more than the minimum you will not get the extra reimbursed.
Finally, Occupational Health and the duty of care to employees - mental health issues will be on the forefront and it is suggested that you keep in touch with your employees with updates of what is happening and do this through whichever mode of communication your employee is comfortable with. It does not need to be formal letters but can be a call – facetime, whatsapp anything that suits. I think the key is communication. Without this employees will be even more worried and this will raise more stress and health issues that could result in them going off sick even after they have returned to work.
We shall circulate another update when we have more information.
Kind regards and keep safe.

Gillian McDonald 
Tax Manager