The UK government announced on Friday that it would be taking several measures to ensure that as many British employees as possible would be able to remain in employment to some degree.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak laid out his plans to protect people’s jobs and incomes, stating: “We want to look back on this time and remember how, in the face of a generation-defining moment, we undertook a collective national effort – and we stood together.”
So, what does that mean for you? We break down some of the key elements of the Chancellor’s plan that will impact employees up and down the country.
What does the wages plan actually cover?
The government is desperate to avoid mass unemployment. The Chancellor’s plan is for employed persons on the PAYE system. It does not affect the public sector as most of their salaries come directly from government, anyway.
Self-employed people will be able to defer tax and VAT, as well as having access to many business loans.
Those on the Universal Credit system could see up to £20 more per week for the next year.
So, who pays my wages?
The government have promised to pay 80% of gross wages in the private sector, up to £2,500 per month if you are still employed but do not currently have work. This will be covered by grants from HMRC and will be backdated to March. This coverage is expected to last at least three months.
Your employer will be able to access grants in order to keep paying you.
But what if I’m working from home?
The government have made it clear that everyone who can work from home should do so, and should continue to receive full pay whilst doing so.
It is up to your employer to provide you with the correct equipment to do so. However, the issue of who pays for running costs that would normally be absorbed by your employer (e.g. electricity, WiFi) remains unclear.
What if I get sick?
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be paid if you or anyone in your household is displaying symptoms of coronavirus. You should obtain a sick note from NHS 111 instead of your GP in this case.
Under present circumstances, SSP can be claimed from the first day of illness (instead of the usual fourth) and companies with fewer than 250 employees will be able to claim back any coronavirus-related SSP from the government.
SSP currently stands at £94.25 per week and you need to be earning at least £118 per week in order to receive it.
My kids are off school – what happens there?
If your children are home from school, your employer must give you time off to look after them. However, they don’t have to pay you for this. Key workers, as defined by the government, can still send their children to school or nursery and many employers are looking at flexible working solutions for those who have children at home.
This information was obtained from gov.uk and is subject to change. Always check with your employer or recruitment agency for clarification.