Covid-19 – Latest Guidance from the Government – 6.00pm 7th April 2020

James Williams

Main points from today

  • Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, led the briefing and is deputising for the PM.
  • The PM remains in intensive care.  He was stable overnight, is in good spirits and is receiving standard oxygen treatment.  His progress is being monitored.
  • The Cabinet have clear instructions from the PM and are implementing them.
  • 55,242 total cases.  New cases 3,634 down slightly from yesterday.  Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said it ‘was possible we are seeing the beginning of the change in terms of the curve flattening.’
  • New guidance for Schools just published this morning with new guidance regarding initial teacher training published this afternoon.

Latest Guidance (employment and business)
Claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was updated in the morning of Saturday 4th April 2020.

  • Updated ACAS Guidance states – ‘If an employee is ‘furloughed’ (temporarily sent home because there’s no work), they can still request and take their holiday in the usual way. This includes taking bank holidays.’
  • However, it remains unclear whether the furlough payment can be used to discharge holiday pay entitlement, with the employer making up the additional 20%.  We believe it cannot, but further guidance is needed.  Our view is based on the guidance for Contingent workers in the public sector Guidance notes on Payments to Suppliers for Contingent Workers impacted by COVID-19 which states – ‘The £2,500 per month cap relates to gross pay, excluding statutory costs such as NI, holiday pay, apprenticeship levy and pension, and supplier margin.’  This does not form part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance but provides a useful insight into Government thinking.  Again we would also highlight that employers should bear in mind that even if an employee was off for 12 weeks, holiday accrual at 5.6 weeks would equate to 7 working days, which an employer can delay an employee taking into the next two holiday years.

Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme
No further guidance today.

Latest Guidance (health)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) information leaflet – New leaflet on what to do to help stop the spread of coronavirus, including information on symptoms and government support.  12:26pm, 7 April 2020.

The following new guidance today:-

Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings – Added updated guidance and Q&A. 9:30am, 7 April 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): free school meals guidance – Added guidance about free school meal support over the Easter holidays. 9:30am, 7 April 2020

Coronavirus (COVID 19): online education resources New first published.  Online educational resources for schools and parents to help children to learn at home. 9:30am, 7 April 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial support for schools Guidance on funding available to schools to support them with costs associated with coronavirus (COVID-19). New and first published 9:30am, 7 April 2020:-

This guidance gives details on additional funding available to schools to cover costs related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

It covers the period up to the end of the 2019 to 2020 summer term. We will publish further guidance in June with more details of the claims process.

We will review this guidance as the situation on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak develops and update it if necessary.

Additional costs covered by the fund
We understand this is a very challenging time for schools. We encourage all schools to continue to manage their budgets in the most effective way possible, and to redirect their existing resources to best support all their pupils, particularly vulnerable children and children of critical workers, in the current circumstances.

We have identified areas where we believe is it most likely that schools may face additional costs, as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
These are:

  • increased premises related costs (including utilities and resources needed to keep the school open, such as hygiene services) associated with keeping schools open during the Easter and/or summer half term holidays, for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, over and above the costs that schools would have faced in other circumstances
  • support for free school meals (FSM) for eligible children who are not attending school, where those costs are not covered by the FSM national voucher scheme – this covers:
    • costs to schools arising before the introduction of the national voucher scheme
    • costs where schools are providing free meals to children for whom the national voucher scheme is inappropriate (for example, because there are no participating supermarkets locally or schools are providing meals directly)
  • additional cleaning – required due to confirmed or suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, in line with COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements.

If a school faces other, extraordinary costs to deliver appropriate support to their pupils through this period that are not covered by this list and cannot be met by existing budgets, they should contact . Other queries should continue to be directed towards central enquiry channels.

Extra support for schools and parents to help cope with coronavirus – The Government has announced a package of support, including additional funding and high-quality resources, to help schools deal with the challenges posed by coronavirus. Statement from the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson.  First published 9:39am, 7 April 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): initial teacher training (ITT)  First published 1:56pm, 7 April 2020

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.