Covid-19 – Latest Guidance from the Government – 6.00pm 9th April 2020

James Williams

Main points from today
  • Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, led the briefing.
  • 65,077 positive cases, 16,784 in hospital. 7,978 deaths an increase of 881 from yesterday.
  • Dominic Raab said ‘we are not done yet and must keep going with the social distancing measures’ and that ‘it will be the end of next week before there is any further update on social distancing.  We will be guided by the science to make sure we are past the peak.’
  • Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said the numbers of people in intensive care, which was previously doubling every 3 days, was now doubling at 6 or more days.  This shows that the curve was being flattened as a result of the social distancing measures.
Latest Guidance (employment and business)
Claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
HMRC have confirmed that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) portal is due to open on 20 April 2020, in time for HMRC to make the first payments by 30 April 2020. It is HMRC’s aim for employers to be paid the first furlough payments four to six working days after submission of their claim. Employers will not necessarily have to make a monthly claim and will be able to claim 14 days before they are due to pay their employees.

On 8 April 2020, HMRC started online testing of the new online portal with a small number of employers in order to test the usability of the online service and the supporting guidance, and to help it gauge the likely need for additional support for employers.

BBC news report – more than nine million workers are expected to be furloughed according to analysis by the Resolution Foundation, using the latest figures on take-up of the scheme from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).   The cost to the taxpayer over three months is estimated at £30-40bn.  Fresh figures from the BCC suggest nearly a fifth of smaller firms plan to furlough all their staff and 50% of companies are putting most of their staff into the scheme.

Automatic enrolment and pension contributions: COVID-19 guidance for employers – new guidance from The Pensions Regulator issued today confirms that automatic enrolment duties continue to apply as normal but ‘We will take a proportionate and risk-based approach towards enforcement decisions, in light of these challenging times, with the aim of supporting both employers and savers.’

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

Latest Guidance (health)
No new guidance today.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for schools about temporarily closing not new guidance from the DfE but answers to some commonly asked questions.

Who can work in schools in light of recent social distancing measures?
We have published separate guidance on implementing social distancing measures in education and childcare settings.

Should school staff with an underlying health condition stay at home?
Our guidance on implementing social distancing measures in education and childcare settings sets out that staff with conditions that mean they are at increased risk of serious illness as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), such as those who are pregnant, should work from home where possible, and education and childcare settings should endeavour to support this.

Should staff with serious underlying health conditions, which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), stay at home and take shielding measures?
We are strongly advising people, including education staff, with serious underlying health conditions which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), such as solid organ transplant recipients, and people with specific cancers, to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe. Staff in this position must not attend work. More advice on this can be found in the guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable.

Should staff who live with someone with a serious underlying health condition, who is taking shielding measures, stay at home?
If a member of staff lives with someone in a vulnerable health group, including those who are pregnant, they can attend their education or childcare setting. The number of social interactions in the education or childcare environment will be reduced, due to there being fewer children attending, and social distancing and good hand hygiene being practised.

If a member of staff lives in a household with someone who is in the most vulnerable health groups, as set out in the guidance on shielding, they should only attend work if stringent social distancing can be adhered to. Settings should allow staff who live with someone in the most vulnerable health groups to work from home where possible.

Awarding vocational and technical qualifications this summer – Calculated results for qualifications used for progression to higher and further education. Arrangements for other qualifications to be issued after Easter. 3:41pm, 9 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.