COVID-19: The key employment law updates

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant changes to day-to-day life, as well as to business and the way that we work.

Working from home has become the norm for many, while there have been key changes to employment law during the past two months, as well as the introduction of Government measures to ensure the security of people’s jobs.

The key updates to employment law include:

  • The introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), with workers being ‘furloughed’, and the Government paying 80 per cent of their wages to ensure that their job is secure
  • The extension of the CJRS until the end of June 2020, with the portal for applications opening on 20 April 2020

To be placed on furlough leave through the CJRS, the employee must have been on a company’s PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020 and can be on any type of contract, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts

There have also been changes to other facets of employment law, such as entitlement to annual leave.

The Government confirmed that workers that have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement because of COVID-19 will be able to carry this leave over into the next two leave years.

These new rules mean that workers can carry over a maximum of four weeks of unused leave into the next two leave years, where it has not been “reasonably practicable” for them to take this leave as a result of the effects of the coronavirus.

Other key employment changes include:

  • The announcement of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), designed to support self-employed individuals, with a taxable grant worth 80 per cent of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month
  • The postponement of the introduction of the IR35 off-payroll working rules for the private sector until April 2021
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is available from the first day of absence from work should a worker need to self-isolate because of the coronavirus

For help and advice on matters relating to employment law, contact our expert team today.

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