Covid-19 Information

Information for Employees

03.08.20

Talent Retention Scheme Now Live
The Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme is now live. The scheme helps talented individuals showcase their experience and expertise while helping businesses find the skills they need. For more click here.

Earlier information

If your employer has work

The word essential caused a great deal of confusion in Spring / Summer 2020. In England the Government said that the Construction Industry was “making a hugely valued and critical contribution to the resilience of our Nation” and all construction work should continue as long as safe working practices are put in place. Different advice was issued in Scotland and that guidance can be found here and here.

Where an Employer did have work available for an Employee then the Employee was expected to attend and carry out that work, normal pay and benefits continued.

It is understandable that at times Employees may have had reservations about undertaking some types of work or attending some work locations, whether work had been ongoing or on a return from “furlough”, (under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, see below).

To assist all parties in the scaffolding industry, the NASC  developed and set out guidance in respect of work being undertaken at the present time, titled ‘Guidance for Scaffolding Operations During the Coronavirus (Covid 19) Pandemic’, available here.

This guidance is reviewed regularly and seeks to maximise the health, safety and welfare of employees undertaking scaffolding and scaffolding related work. In addition to the guidance for working on site, the NASC recommends that workers change their clothes and wash thoroughly before being in close contact with family members when they get home. Outer work clothes should be kept in a kit bag away from other residents.

The Job Retention Scheme can apply where an Employer does not have work for an Employee as a result of the Covid-19 emergency.  At the instigation of the Employer and by agreement of the Employee, the Employee may be placed on ‘furlough’ for a period of time, in which circumstance a proportion of normal pay will continue.

Should an Employee decline to undertake work available, whether work has been ongoing or on a return from furlough, then no pay or benefits will be due.

Depending on the particular circumstances of the employee declining to work, after proper investigation and consideration of the particular circumstances and employee concerns by the Employer, ‘no further action’, taking holiday, unpaid leave (possibly qualifying for State benefits), potential action under the discipline procedure or potential action under the redundancy procedure may become considerations for the Employer.

If your employer has work available but you choose not to attend work it may be possible for you to receive Universal Credit or other benefits, see here for further information about Universal Credit and here for links to benefits calculators which help you to work out what you might receive.

 

If your employer does not have work

If your employer did not have work then they might have asked you to stay at home and to agree to be put on “furlough”.  Furlough is a term used by the Job Retention Scheme which was set up by the Government to encourage employers to keep employees on the payroll during the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheme was available until the 30th June and the Government paying employers 80% of employee’s usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions (up to the level of the minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contribution) on that subsidised furlough pay.  Between 1 July and 31 October payments from the scheme are being gradually decreased.  The scheme will end on the 31 October 2020.

Being put on furlough was a change to your contract of employment so your employer should have discussed it with you and obtained your agreement.

Further information about the Job Retention Scheme for employees can be found here:

Citizens Advice – If your employer has told you not to work

Government – What to do if you’re employed and cannot work

Government – Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

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