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Sick Pay & Holiday Entitlement

With hairdressers now allowed to open imminently, L’Oréal Professionnel have created an extensive guide with advice and recommendations for when you finally open your doors. To help get all the information in one place and to make it as clear as possible, we have created a series of blogs using extracts from the guide, that outline everything you need to know before welcoming your customers again. Don’t forget to keep an eye out on our social media channels for more updates and to know when the latest blog goes live!

 

Sick Pay

 

In the UK:

Those who follow advice to stay at home and who cannot work as a result will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), even if they are not themselves sick (if they are living with someone with symptoms for instance).

Employers should use their discretion and respect the medical need to self-isolate when making decisions about sick pay.

Anyone not eligible to receive sick pay, including those earning less than an average of £118 per week, some of those working in the gig economy, or self-employed people, are able to claim Universal Credit and/or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

In order to help employers pay those who are on sick leave, the government will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to Covid-19.

Please note:

  • This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of Covid-19

  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020

  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of Covid-19

  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online, and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website

  • Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force

  • The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

Eligibility:

You can use the scheme as an employer if: 

  • You’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to Coronavirus  

  • You’ve had a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020  

  • You had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including: 

  • All full-time employees  

  • Part-time employees  

  • Employees on agency contracts  

  • Employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts 

The HMRC will let you know when the scheme will end.

How to access the scheme:

A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided in due course once the legalisation has passed.

Please note: You must keep records of all the statutory sick payments that you want to claim from HMRC, including:

  • The reason why an employee could not work  

  • Details of each period when an employee could not work, including start and end dates  

  • Details of the SSP qualifying days when an employee could not work  

  • National Insurance numbers of all employees who you have paid SSP to

You’ll have to keep these records for at least 3 years following your claim.

In Ireland: 

If you or your employee has been diagnosed with Covid-19, or are medically certified to self-isolate as a result of Covid-19, you can apply for Illness Benefit for Covid-19 absences which is higher than the standard rate (€350 per week). You can apply for this whether you are an employee or if you are self-employed. 

Eligibility: 

To receive the enhanced payment, you must be:  

  • Self-isolating on the instruction of a doctor or the HSE due to being a possible source of infection, or diagnosed with Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and

  • Absent from work and confined to your home or a medical facility

An IB claim form must be submitted (on line or by post) and medical certification must be provided by your GP or relevant HSE documentation provided. 

How to apply: 

  • If you are diagnosed with Covid-19, or advised to self-isolate due to being a possible source of infection by a doctor, the doctor will then complete a medical certificate on your behalf and send this directly to the department. To complete the medical certification, your doctor will ask you for your name, PPSN and Date of Birth.  

  • Alternatively, if you have been advised by the HSE that you must self-isolate due to being a possible source of infection (e.g. contact tracing), you will have received a text or a letter from the HSE. You will need to submit a copy of this notification with your Illness Benefit application form.  

  • If you are returning from travel abroad and following HSE self-isolation advice and are not being paid by your employer, you will require your GP to complete a medical certificate on your behalf.

  • If you require two successive periods of self-isolation i.e. four weeks in total, separate claims must be submitted for both periods, with medical certification provided.

Apply online:  

  • You can apply for the emergency Covid-19 payment online at mywelfare.ie  

  • All you need to apply for the service is a basic MyGovID account. There are no appointments for this. All you need is an email address and it only takes 2 minutes to sign up.

  • Once you've got the basic MyGovID account (or if you already have an existing MyGovID account), just click the button below to apply for this payment

  • It is very important to fill in your bank details correctly, include IBAN and BIC to avoid delays to your payments.

  • Medical certification from your GP or a letter or text from the HSE must be provided. Please ensure that your GP has submitted the certification electronically or by post to the Department. Where you have a text or letter from the HSE please submit it as an attachment with your application for COVID IB.  

Apply by post: 

To get a form and apply by post, please visit: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/2a3170-request-a-illness-benefit-form-by-post/

It is very important to fill in your bank details correctly, include IBAN and BIC to avoid delays to your payments. 

Once both the application form and the medical certificate are received payment will be processed. 

You should continue to liaise with your doctor in relation to your diagnosis and the length of time you are medically certified unfit to work because of Covid-19.


Team holidays

 

Holiday pay and holiday cover once your business is back up and running is a large concern for many, and that in part is due to the lack of clarity and advice on the subject.

UK:

First of all, what should you do about holidays if your staff are on furlough? We will outline here what is both known and recommended by ACAS.

Bank holidays - Bank holidays are usually part of the legal minimum 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday.

Employers can still require employees and workers to take paid holiday on a bank holiday, unless they’re off sick. They must give employees or workers notice.

Employees and workers can also ask to take a day’s paid holiday on a bank holiday. If the employer agrees, they must get their usual pay in full.

If bank holidays cannot be taken off due to Coronavirus, employees and workers should use the holiday at a later date in their leave year.

In terms of payment, the employer would top up the 80% to 100% of what the employee would normally have received for holidays including average commission. It isn’t clear if employers pay 100% of the cost or can use the furlough monies (UK only). 

Ireland:

Full-time employees are statutorily entitled to payment for all Public Holidays and for a minimum of 20 days annual leave per year (1.66 days per month of employment).

When an employee is on annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, paternity leave or adoptive leave and the employer’s company policy is to continue to pay the employee on leave their salary for a set period of time, DEASP will continue to pay the agreed subsidy as long as the employer continues to pay the employee, subject to a maximum of seven weeks per year in the case of paid sick leave. 

An employee’s absence from work should be explained by the employer in the Comments area of the Wage Subsidy Scheme when completing the Wage Subsidy Review. If zero hours have been worked, a nil WSR return should be made. 

When no salary at all is being paid by the employer, no wage subsidy payment will be made to the employer: 

Many employers deduct the amount of any social welfare payment being claimed by an employee from their weekly salary when they are absent from work (usually because the employee has nominated their employer to receive their social welfare payment). In this case, DEASP will pay any shortfall between the two payments as a subsidy to the company.

If the amount of the social welfare payment being claimed by the employee (and paid to the employer) is greater than the amount of the wage subsidy that would usually be paid to the employer, no wage subsidy payment will be made to the employer. 

Using holiday - Employers, employees and workers should be as flexible as they can about holiday during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Recommendations:

  • Talk about any plans to use or cancel holiday during Coronavirus as soon as possible

  • Discuss why holiday might need to be taken or cancelled

  • Listen to any concerns, either from staff or the employer

  • Welcome and suggest ideas for other options

  • Consider everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing

  • Be aware that it’s a difficult time for both employers and staff

If your employees are furloughed (UK only):

Employees or workers who are temporarily sent home because there’s no work ('furloughed workers'), can request and take their holiday in the usual way, if their employer agrees. This includes bank holidays. Furloughed workers must get their usual pay in full, for any holiday they take.

Previously booked holidays:

An employee may no longer want to take time off they'd previously booked, for example because their hotel cancelled the booking. Their employer can insist they still take the time

off, but it’s good practice to get agreement from the employee. If the employee wants to change when they take this time off, they'll need to get agreement from their employer.

Requiring staff to take or cancel holiday:

Employers have the right to tell employees and workers when to take holiday. An employer could, for example, shut for a week and tell everyone to use their holiday entitlement. If the employer decides to do this, they must tell staff at least twice as many days before as the amount of days they need people to take. For example, if they want to close for 5 days, they should tell everyone at least 10 days before. Employers can also cancel pre-booked paid holiday. If they decide to do this, they must give staff at least the same number of days’ notice as the original holiday request. For example, if an employee has booked 5 days holiday, the employer must tell them at least 5 days before the holiday starts that it’s cancelled.

This could affect holiday staff have already booked or planned and cause upset. So employers should:

  • Explain clearly why they need to do this
  • Try and resolve anyone's worries about how it will affect their holiday entitlement or plans

The Government have now provided full guidance for close contact services, including hairdressers, set to open on 4th July. For more information please CLICK HERE.

 


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