Covid-19 – Latest Guidance from the Government – 6.00pm 29th April 2020

James Williams

Main points from today

  • Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, led the briefing.
  • 165,221 positive tests an increase 4,076 from yesterday.  Total deaths 26,097, an increase of 765 from yesterday.  The total now includes deaths in care homes and in the community from 2nd March to 28th April, which was a total of 3,811 during that period.

Latest Guidance (employment and business)
No new guidance today, although many reports that the furlough payments from HMRC are being paid.

General CJRS guidance starts here:-

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: step by step guide for employers

Work out 80% of your employees’ wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Latest Guidance (health)
No new guidance today.

Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak useful to highlight from yesterday’s update:-

Staff on casual or zero hours contracts:

11.2 Should schools continue to pay contingent workers that they directly employ on a zero hours or casual basis?

We trust schools and local authorities to make appropriate decisions to protect the interests of their staff and workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Where schools or local authorities use public funding to employ workers directly but on an ad-hoc basis, for instance workers who work on a zero-hours or casual basis, they may continue to engage these workers where they are needed during this period. If these workers continue to be provided with work they should be paid as normal under the terms of their contracts, from existing financial budgets.

Where schools or local authorities had expected to use their public funding to engage such workers and had budgeted for this, but work is no longer needed due to COVID-19, we encourage schools to follow the approach for casual workers set out in paragraph 20 of the Procurement Policy Note 02/20 on contingent workers impacted by COVID-19. This will ensure directly-hired casual workers have access to the same levels of support as casual agency workers during the COVID-19 period.

Schools should pay the worker at 80% of their typical pay, in a similar way to agency workers who were not on live assignments when schools began closing or reducing capacity. Schools should calculate the 80% by conducting a retrospective review of the previous 12 weeks (or as many weeks as the contingent worker has been on assignment) to determine the average days or hours worked. This average should be used to underpin the calculation of 80% of gross pay for the worker (up to a £2,500 monthly cap to align treatment of casual direct hire workers with casual agency workers). The total amount payable should be limited to the amount the school or local authority had originally budgeted for such workers from their public funding.

Schools and local authorities should not furlough workers unless the circumstances meet the criteria set out in DfE’s guidance for education, early years and children’s social care sectors.

Supply Workers:

11.4 Should schools continue to pay agencies for workers on live assignments?

Schools are advised to refer to all parts of the Procurement Policy Note 02/20 (PPN 02/20), which provides guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers for the purposes of ensuring the continuity of critical service during and after the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Where schools have agency workers on live assignments who can continue to work, they may continue to make previously agreed payments for the supply of workers in line with the approach set out in PPN 02/20. Agencies who receive money for workers in line with this guidance should not furlough these workers, and should follow the open book accounting rules set out in PPN 02/20 to provide schools with proof that workers are continuing to be paid as normal.
Where schools have agency workers on live assignments who cannot continue to work due to coronavirus (COVID-19), schools and agencies should refer to the guidance set out in Procurement Policy Note 02/20.

11.5 Does the advice in PPN 02/20 require existing contracts to be extended when they expire?
The Procurement Policy Note 02/20 advice covers the length of existing live assignments up to the end date that had been previously agreed. It does not require these agreements to be extended further if the resource will not be required.

11.6 What support is there for agency workers who are not on a live assignment or whose work has come to an end?
Where agency workers are not on live assignments with schools, or where a previously agreed assignment is due to end, schools and agencies should discuss any further demand for the worker. If there is no further demand, the employer can apply to furlough the worker via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Once a worker has been furloughed, they become unavailable to work and cannot provide services for their employer for a minimum of 3 weeks. Schools and agencies should bear this in mind when discussing ongoing resource requirements and agencies should keep this under regular review.

Early May Bank Holiday:

12.2 Are schools opening on the early May bank holiday?
Schools should decide, in consultation with the parents of children who are currently attending school, whether it is necessary for them to continue to look after critical workers’ children and vulnerable children on Friday 8 May 2020.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): attendance in education and early years settings – A summary of how many children and teachers attended education and childcare settings since Monday 23 March.  Updated data and added summary of data returns to 24 April 2020.  1:45pm, 28 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.