Sentient Group Ltd
Info Update 2020/44                                                        Issue Date: 01/09/2020
We remind you that from today, (1st September 2020) there are changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Government Guidance has been updated to state as follows;
From 1st September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% (up to £2,500). The caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

Unless you’re making a new claim for an employee who is a military reservist or is returning from statutory parental leave, you can only continue to claim through the scheme if: you have previously furloughed the employee for 3 consecutive weeks between 1st March 2020 and 30th June 2020; and you submitted your claim to HMRC before 31st July 2020. 
Returning to England
With the easing of the ‘lockdown’ restrictions, employees now have the opportunity to take holidays, and travel abroad. Currently, the Coronavirus regulations require all UK residents and visitors arriving in England to self-isolate for 14 days from arrival. There is an exemption that they may not have to self-isolate, if they are travelling from one of the countries and territories that are either:
  • covered by the travel corridor exemption
  • within the common travel area - Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man
  • British overseas territories

Individuals will need to self-isolate if they visited or made a transit stop in a country or territory that is not on the travel corridor list in the 14 days before arriving in England. This applies to all travel to England, by train, ferry, coach, air or any other route.

The travel corridor list, changes on a regular basis and can be found here:
How does this impact employers?
Where employees are on holiday, or about to go on holiday (or travel overseas on business) you need to factor in, depending upon where the employee is travelling to (or returning from) that they may not be able to return to work for an additional 14 days after the original anticipated return to work date.
Employees that are about to travel overseas either for business or on holiday, but have not yet left the UK, you should discuss with them about the potential impact of their travel plans on their employment. It would therefore be good practice to request details of employees travel plans for any scheduled holidays or any future requests.

You will need to be careful that you are not seen to be encouraging employees to breach the self-isolation rules in any way; but it is reasonable for you to discuss the situation with any employee impacted by the travel self-isolation measures. For example: could the employee work from home? If not, how would the self-isolation absence be treated: could the employee request additional annual leave, or a period of unpaid leave. Employers will have their usual discretion whether to allow this or not, but should be reasonable, when exercising discretion, having regard to all the circumstances.
Self Isolation Payment
People on low incomes who need to self-isolate and are unable to work from home in areas with high incidence of COVID-19 will benefit from a new payment scheme starting today (1st September).

Starting with a trial in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham to ensure the process works, eligible individuals who test positive with the Covid-19 virus will receive a payment.
It is designed to support people who are unable to work from home while self-isolating, either after testing positive, or after being identified by NHS Test and Trace as living in the same household as – or coming into contact with – someone who has tested positive. It will be available to people currently receiving either Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit.
This new payment scheme aims to help people on low incomes and who are unable to work from home to continue playing their part in the national fight against this virus.

Payments will be provided within 48 hours of the eligible individual providing the necessary evidence. Individuals will be asked to provide a notification from NHS Test and Trace and a bank statement.
The local authority can also check the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm the individual has been asked to self-isolate, if the individual is unable to provide this information. The local authority will have measures in place to prevent fraud and ensure compliance through welfare check-ins, phone calls and employment checks.
There will be a rapid review of the scheme in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham to assess the performance consider how effectively vulnerable people have been reached, and consider how far it has helped reduce transmission of the virus in these areas. If the approach is successful, the scheme will be quickly applied in other areas of high COVID-19 incidence.
To be eligible for the funding, individuals must:
  • have tested positive for COVID-19 or received a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking them to self-isolate
  • have agreed to comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace and provided contact details to the local authority
  • be employed or self-employed:
    • employed people will be asked to show proof of employment
    • self-employed will be required to show evidence of trading income and that their business delivers services which the local authority reasonably judges they are unable to carry out without social contact
  • be unable to work from home (checks will be undertaken on all applicants) and will lose income a result
  • be currently receiving Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit
This will not reduce any other benefits that they receive. This payment equates to:
  • £130 if an individual has tested positive for coronavirus and has to self-isolate for 10 days (from the point they first developed symptoms)
  • £182 if a member of an individual’s household has tested positive for coronavirus and they are asked to self-isolate for 14 days (from the point the member of their household first developed symptoms)
  • £13 per day (up to a maximum of £182) if an individual is identified as a non-household contact of another person who has tested positive for coronavirus and is asked to self-isolate up until 14 days after they were most recently in contact with the person who tested positive.
Whilst the above does not directly affect you as an employer, it may be sensible to make sure your employees are aware of this potential benefit, if you are in an area designated to be of high COVID-19 incidence.
The advice and comment in this update is not meant to be an authoritative statement of the law. The articles and summaries should not be applied to any specific set of facts and circumstances without seeking further advice. Whilst every care is taken to ensure that the content is correct Sentient cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of statements made nor the result of any actions taken by individuals after reading such.
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Ilkley Road
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