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The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: the forgotten employees

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was launched to support employers during the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic and reduce job losses. However, in this developing situation a fair amount of questions have been asked around eligibility and monitoring.

The Government has now clarified that only employees who were on their employer’s PAYE payroll on 19th March 2020 will be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The reason for this, presumably, is to prevent abuse and to stop employers from employing friends and family in order to make claims from the Government in respect of 80% of their salary. It also provides an easy way for HMRC to police the system.

However, in an economy where a lot of the work force changes their employer fairly frequently, there will be a large number of employees who will end up losing their jobs, through no fault of their own and will be left with a significant reduction in their income.  Many employees are subject to notice periods of between one to three months and a very significant number of employees will have given notice to terminate their employment with their old employer to begin a new role before the coronavirus epidemic erupted.  Many of these people will have been looking forward to commencing their new jobs only to find out their new employer is unable to continue to employ them because their place of business has temporarily closed down and/or is suffering financial difficulty as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic.  In circumstances where the Government’s aim is to “stand by” those affected by the crisis and retain jobs for those who would otherwise lose their jobs as a result of the crisis, urgent attention needs to be given to this significant sector of the workforce.

The employment team here at Linder Myers Solicitors is here for you throughout this crisis. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch on enquiries@lindermyers.co.uk.

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