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COVID19 Update 10th November 2020

  • Reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay

The guidance to employers on reclaiming statutory Sick Pay has been updated so that now the repayment will cover up to 2 weeks SSP starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they have been advised by letter to shield because they’re clinically extremely vulnerable and at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

 

  • Clarification on Reopening Date

I’ve had a few queries regarding whether England comes out of lockdown on the 2nd or 3rd of December. The end of the lockdown is a 00:01 on Thursday 3rd December – this being 28 days after the lockdown started (5th Nov).

The lockdown guidance reads:

“The new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to and including Wednesday 2 December.”

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november

 

  • Updates to Lockdown Grant Guidance

The Guidance for Local Restrictions Support Grants and Additional Restrictions Grants has been updated to explain the Local Restrictions Support Grant strands and further explain the Additional Restrictions Grant. However, this update is more directed to Local Authorities on their management of the Grants rather than business eligibility so we await further guidance for businesses on these grants.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-restrictions-support-grants-lrsg-and-additional-restrictions-grant-arg-guidance-for-local-authorities

 

  • Grants for Accommodation

One of the most pressing questions that I’ve been getting is whether accommodation businesses are eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) or the discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant. I am continuing to raise this with DCMS and it was again brought-up at today’s Tourism Industry Council meeting. However, DCMS still haven’t received guidance on this from the Cabinet Office but recognise how urgently the industry needs this and will come back to us as soon as possible.

 

  • Extended CJR Scheme

Another outstanding issue is the full detailed guidance for the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This was due to be published today but seems to be delayed. I’ve put in a couple of questions to DCMS about the eligibility criteria for this and the base  working hours and pay that are to be used to calculate payments as there are a number of examples of where staff have voluntarily  taken a reduction in hours or pay to retain their positions and if this is taken as the new base for calculating furlough payments it will further lower their already reduced pay and put them into financial difficulty. Hopefully the detailed guidance, when it is published will use the original pre-Covid hours and pay for this calculation.

 

  • Kick Start Gateways

Another update to the Guidance for the Kick Start Guidance to say that requests to be added to the Kickstart gateway list will no longer be accepted after 16 November 2020. However, organisations can still operate as a Kickstart gateway and submit a Kickstart Scheme grant application even if they’re not on the list.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-employers-apply-for-a-kickstart-scheme-grant-kickstart-gateway

agto@agto.co.uk
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