The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or Furlough Scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3-week period prior to 30 June. This means that the final date by which an employer needs to agree with their employee and ensure they place them on furlough for the first time is today, the 10th June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
However, yesterday, the government confirmed that, for parents returning to work after statutory maternity and paternity leave, there will be an exemption from the requirement that the first period of furlough must start by 10 June. Importantly, this will only apply where they work for an employer who has previously furloughed employees.
Shops, department stores and shopping centres that have been closed since March will be able to reopen from Monday 15 June, provided they put in place the necessary steps to keep their workers and customers safe. You can find published guidance on the government’s website, this guidance includes the following recommendations:
- displaying a downloadable notice to inform customers and staff they have followed COVID-secure guidance;
- limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time;
- placing protective coverings on large items such as sofas which may be touched by passing shoppers; and
- frequently checking and cleaning objects and surfaces.
Last night, the business secretary confirmed last night that local authorities and the Health and Safety Executive will regularly carry out checks and respond to concerns from the public regarding risks in the workplace.
Finally, we can expect new government guidance on those who are shielding. It is anticipated that the government will be taking steps to ensure that people recently told to shield can benefit from the furlough scheme.
Click here for today’s podcast [Employment COVID-19 Update: Furlough Deadlines and Anticipated Guidance].