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Tough lockdown decisions needed

Posted on: 04/11/2020

An expert employment lawyer has warned that businesses need to make ‘tough and quick’ decisions in reaction to the second Coronavirus lockdown.

Kate Brooks, who is a Partner and Head of Employment/HR Services at regional law firm Ellis Jones Solicitors, urged employers to consider their options as soon as possible.

The second national lockdown is due to begin on November 5 with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) extended to support businesses.

Kate, who has been recognised for her excellence in The Legal 500 and The Times Top 200 Law Firms guides, said: “These are difficult times for businesses.

“They have some quick and tough decisions to make in a very short space of time.

“They have a number of factors to consider, especially in light of the extension of the CJRS on the same terms as its initial introduction in March of this year.

“These include agreement over working from home, long or short-term changes to terms of employment and whether to place employees on furlough.

“Some businesses may also need to consider whether redundancies will be necessary or can be avoided, and start any processes required.”

Under the extension of the CJRS scheme, employers will again be able to claim up to 80% (or £2,500) for each employee for the hours not worked.

Other key points include:

  • Neither the employee nor the employer needs to have previously used the furlough scheme
  • The employer will be able to bring employees back flexibly
  • Employers will be responsible for covering tax, NI and contributions
  • Publicly funded organisations are not able to use the scheme; partially funded organisations may be able to
  • All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE scheme will be eligible
  • Employees must have been on the PAYE payroll by 23.59 on October 31, 2020

Kate is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association. Ellis Jones, with more than 140 staff and 17 partners, has five offices across the south coast in Bournemouth, Canford Cliffs (Poole), Swanage, Ringwood and Wimborne as well as London.

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