Moira Laws MA MSc
Chartered FCIPD
Director
Tel: (01738) 451316
Email: [email protected]

Extension to Job Retention Scheme

The Chancellor has announced that the Job Retention Scheme will be extended to the end of October. However, companies will be asked to start sharing the cost as from August. More details will follow about how employers’ contributions will be phased in.

New Loan Fund for SME housebuilders

A new Loan Fund is to be made available for SME housebuilders operating within Scotland and building 5 or more houses per annum. The minimum loan will be £50,000, repayable within 2 years. Applications open on Monday 18th May – see Scottish Government website for details.

New Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Chancellor has announced a new loans scheme aimed at small firms. The scheme is in addition to the business grants, tax deferrals and job retention schemes. Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and will have access to cash ‘within days’. Loans will be interest-free for the first 12 months. The scheme will launch for on-line applications on Monday 4 May.

Job Retention Scheme

The UK government portal is now open for employers to make claims under the Job Retention Scheme.  The Scheme has been extended from 31st May to end of June 2020.

Some employers are calling for increased flexibility within the scheme so that furloughed employees can work reduced hours for their existing employer where possible. This would reduce the cost to the taxpayer and allow furloughed employees to be gradually phased back into the workforce when lockdown restrictions are phased out.

Coronavirus and Furlough of Employees

‘Furlough’ is temporary leave for workers and employees while a business is temporarily not operating. During furlough employees and workers must get their usual pay in full for any holidays they take. The UK government has introduced a temporary new law allowing employees and workers to carry forward up to 4 weeks’ paid holiday over a 2 year period. More information and a template furlough agreement letter is available via ACAS website: www.acs.org.luk/coronavirus.

Coronavirus – help and advice informtion

Useful contacts:
www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
www.hps.scot.nhs.uk
www.nhs24.scot
www.gov.scot
www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk
Free telephone helpline: 0800 028 2816 (for general health advice)

No change to date of UK Budget

The new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced that there will be no change to the date of the Budget.  It will be kept at 11 March as previously scheduled.

Government announces new fast-track visa system

Top international scientists, mathematicians and researchers will be able to apply to work in the UK under a fast-track visa scheme, with no cap on the number of people who can benefit.
Individuals will not need to have an offer of employment before arriving in the UK, and their visa will not be tied to a specific job.

However, low-skilled workers would not get visas under post-Brexit immigration plans.  This will have a major impact on employers in the hospitality, medical, care, agriculture and construction sectors.

National Apprenticeship Week

A study of 2000 adults in England found that apprenticeships are considered a better alternative to higher education. 73% said that apprenticeships were good at preparing young people for their future careers compared with 52% who said the same for undergraduate degrees.

Despite this, half of respondents admitted they would still consider university as a route to skills development.  Just 30% said they would undergo an apprenticeship to improve their skills.

New National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates from April 2020

From April 2020 the new rates will be:

NLW

Ages 25 and above:   up 6.2% to£8.72

NMW

Ages 21-24:  up 6.5% to £8.20

Ages 18-20:  up 4.9% to £6.45

Under 18’s : up 4.6% to £4.55

Apprentices:  up 6.4% to £4.15