Covid-19 – Latest Guidance from the Government – 6.00pm 16th April 2020

James Williams

Main points from today
  • Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, led the briefing and announced that the lockdown in the UK would be extended for at least 3 more weeks.
  • 103,093 positive tests and 13,729 deaths, a rise of 861 from yesterday.
  • Evidence that social distancing measures are being successful but too early to make any changes.
  • 5 points would be considered when looking at relaxing lockdown measures:-
    • Sufficient critical care capacity in the NHS.
    • A sustained and consistent fall in the daily rate of deaths.
    • The rate of infection decreasing.
    • Sufficient testing capacity.
    • Any adjustments do not result in a second peak.
Latest Guidance (employment and business)
Claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – updated at 1.39pm yesterday.  Major change is the date that a furloughed employee had to be on a payroll is now 19th March 2020.  Previously this was 28th February 2020.  No further guidance today.

Yesterday, the Chancellor made a Treasury Direction in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.  Treasury Direction made under Sections 71 and 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020. Basically, these are the formal rules of the CJRS.  The important points are:-

  • ‘An employee has been instructed by the employer to cease all work in relation to their employment only if the employer and employee have agreed in writing (which may be in an electronic form such as an email) that the employee will cease all work in relation to their employment.’ – Previously, the requirement was for the employee to be notified in writing that they have been furloughed.  Now an employer and employee must agree that the employee will cease all work.
  • Calculation is based on regular salary which:-
    • cannot vary according to performance of the employer or employee or is discretionary (such as a tip),
    • is not conditional on any matter,
    • is not a benefit of any other kind.
  • Furloughed Directors can only perform very basic director duties ‘arising by or under an Act of Parliament relating to the filing of company accounts or provision of other information relating to the administration of the director’s company.’
  • No mention of whether the furlough payment can be used to discharge a payment in relation to holidays.
Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme
Further details were updated on 14th April.  The online service that will be used to claim is not available yet. HMRC will aim to contact individuals by mid May 2020, and will make payments by early June 2020.

Latest Guidance (health)
No new guidance today.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): early years and childcare closures – Updated introductory sections and sections on Who this guidance is for, Prioritising children, Funding, Staying open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, Early Years Foundation Stage and Holidays.  6:25pm, 15 April 2020

Should early years and childcare settings, including childminders, open over academic holidays even if they do not usually?
Where possible, we would encourage early years and childcare settings and schools to continue to look after critical workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout academic holidays. Local authorities and early years settings should decide, in consultation with the parents of children who are currently attending early years settings, whether it is necessary for this to include bank holidays.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Closure of educational settings: information for parents and carers
Information for parents and carers about the closure of schools and other educational settings following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).  Change made – Updated Resources and support and added a new section for Admissions. 3:54pm, 16 April 2020

The general school guidance starts here:-
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for schools and other educational settings

General Guidance
The general coronavirus guidance starts here:-

James Williams – Solicitor

James Williams

I am a qualified Employment Law and HR Solicitor. I specialise in acting for schools and advise on all aspects of employment law and HR including attending employee meetings, advising senior leaders, conducting redundancy consultations, drafting contracts of employment, advising on policies and procedures and negotiating settlement agreements.