COVID-19 E-shot 24/03/20
***The information given on these pages is the legal stance based on the government advice, please be mindful that this advice can change. This is the absolute minimum required by law. It is the Employer's decision whether they need their employee to work and what they pay to their nanny, you are allowed to pay above the minimum if you wish to. Making decisions about whether to pay more than the minimum can be a very difficult one, you will need to consider many things, such as, your future relationship with your employee and the affordability for you and your employee in these troubling times. It is wonderful to see that many employers have been able to retain their employees on full pay during this pandemic, but we appreciate that some will not be able to. Please be assured that this is your decision to make.***
Copy of email sent to clients on 24/03/20.
As always I am grateful for your support in allowing NannyPaye to advise you in a proportionate way as we are advised by our qualified legal team and led by the Governments response to the COVID-19 crisis.
We have today received an unprecedented number of calls and e-mails surrounding the Governments last two major announcements:
• The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
• New measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Our efforts to guide you through the current events are being frustrated by a lack of follow up detail from the Government and also a vast amount of unconfirmed information circulating on social media and from other childcare commentators.
NannyPaye will only offer you advice that we are sure we are able to document directly from a Government source rather than 3rd party websites. This means whilst it is enticing for NannyPaye to provide the answers everyone wishes to hear we will focus upon the facts.
NannyPaye also stresses that we will always provide a range of options for our clients so that you can make an informed choice on how you wish to proceed with your employee. Should you or your employee disagree with our advice please refer to the Government website we have drawn our guidance from.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Chancellor announced on Friday 20th March to offer support to businesses though the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Whilst we welcome these proposals we are still looking for clarity on the eligibility criteria to access the scheme.
The COVID-19: Support for Business web page (linked below) quotes that ‘all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.’
However, the eligibility is listed as ‘All UK businesses’ which the employer of a Nanny is not broadly recognised as. Should our client base be confirmed as eligible (which may take some time to confirm in the current unprecedented times) we will of course contact you to investigate claiming any allowable wage costs.
Having spoken to multiple sources at HMRC they have advised that they strongly believe all employers will be eligible for the scheme. Whilst this would be excellent news for our clients and their employees I must stress that the Government published guidance is still currently unclear.
What is the scheme and how does it help?
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
This may be relevant if you are now working from home or have been made redundant by your own employer and so for a temporary period you have no need for childcare.
You will need to:
• designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
• submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
Why would you use this scheme?
The benefit to your employer/employee relationship from this announcement is immeasurable. It gives the hope that your employee can be retained whilst still receiving a large portion of their contractual pay at little cost to you the employer.
It saves the employer/employee relationship ending completely during what is hoped to be a short to medium period of disruption to UK life.
Why would you not use this scheme?
Our concern is that our clients make an employment decision to furlough an employee keeping them on a substantial wage rate and then be found to not be eligible for the 80% cost refund. Should you have chosen an alternative route such as redundancy or layoff (both of which I hasten to add are not desirable) your costs would have been substantially reduced.
How do you furlough an employee?
Your employee must agree to be furloughed which is likely to not be an issue considering the alternatives and attractive financial offering. We have prepared a letter for you to use to offer your employee furlough and to gain her signed acceptance to these new terms.
You then need to decide upon a date that the furlough should start and the salary level you are keeping your Nanny at. The Government will refund up to £2500 a month or 80% of the original salary (we believe).
Please then update NannyPaye of the new salary arrangement and the date the furlough started/will start.
How do you receive your funding?
Full details of the scheme have not yet been published and the Government is in the process of setting up a special portal to enable you/NannyPaye to request financial support to enable furlough payments to be made.
New measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19
The Prime Minister announced on Monday 23rd March that the government is introducing three new measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public
The staying at home measures (taken directly from the Government web site) read as follows:
You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:
• Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
• One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
• Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
• Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
This is a fluid situation but our interpretation of this guidance is that (as your Nanny cannot perform her role from her own home) she/he should attend work as normal.
If she/he is unable or unwilling to do so and is not ill or self-isolating they are effectively absent without authorised leave and would not be entitled to pay.
You can of course pay a discretionary goodwill salary to your Nanny to ensure their wellbeing in this difficult period or perhaps negotiate alternate options such as your Nanny taking paid annual leave.
If your Nanny is refusing to travel to work we would advise our clients to contact the employee, clarify the position and ask them to come in.
We would advise against any sort of disciplinary action because if the employee has a genuine and reasonable belief that it is unsafe for them to come to work, they can (in principle) bring claims if they are disciplined or suffer a detriment because of this.
We have linked to the current government guidance here :