A brief guide to the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, what it means for the events industry and event staff, and who is eligible for furlough.

Still Surviving

As we said in Part 1 (we didn't even know there would be a Part 2 back then!) adapting to change is the best way to survive! 

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change" Charles Darwin 1809

It's been three long months of uncertainty for the Events Industries, we've embraced the Zoom meeting, taken events online, drank a lot of gin and the relatively unknown term "furlough" became the word on the street!

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Furlough Changes for the UK Events Industry

We've come a long way from Friday 20 March, when Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.  If you haven't caught Part 1, the gist of the scheme is this:  Enabling UK employers to access a grant to continue paying part of the salary of employees who would otherwise have been made redundant or unemployed as a result of the coronavirus crisis. This scheme does not apply to the self-employed who are being helped under a different scheme.

On Thursday 26 March, the government a published detailed guidance for employers on how the scheme would operate. The furlough scheme went live on 20th April and is now due to continue until the end of October. We outlined the basics in our Furlough and the Events Industry  Blog Part 1. The main idea was to stop mass redundancies, to encourage employers to keep jobs "on-standby" ready for the #UnPause that will happen soon. 

Changes to the Furlough scheme

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The updates to the JRS in June means that from July workers will be supported into going back to work part-time, with employers being asked to contribute to their wages. 

  • From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern.  They can still claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked by their employees.
  • From 1 August 2020, the level of grant will be reduced each month. To be eligible for the grant employers must pay furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they are being furloughed.

The government will then reduce the amount it contributes month by month,  They published the following guidelines:

  • For June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 for the hours the employee is on furlough, as well as employer National Insurance Contributions (ER NICS) and pension contributions for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work.
  • For August, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 for the hours an employee is on furlough and employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions for the hours the employee is on furlough.
  • For September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, for time they are furloughed.
  • For October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, for time they are furloughed.

Employers will continue to able to choose to top up employee wages above the 80% total and £2,500 cap for the hours not worked at their own expense if they wish. Employers will have to pay their employees for the hours worked.

How are the changes calculated?

The new advice from the treasury is that employers are responsible for paying wages whilst workers are working, and the scheme will continue to support up to 80% of when they are unable to work. 

This is an example of how the new changes will work:

An employee works a 40-hour week, they earn £1,000 a month for that. On furlough, they don't work and receive £800 a month via the JRS.

Under new scheme, if that employee goes back to work for 10 hours a week, a quarter of their normal working time, they would earn £250 a month for the work completed (aid by employer). Yet they will still be furloughed for 30 hours a week, so JRS will pay three quarters of the monthly furlough pay – that's £600. 

Adding it up, an employee will get a total of £850 a month working those 10 hours, compared with £800 on full furlough.

How long will JRS operate for?

The latest advice is that the furlough scheme will end on 31st October. It is worth noting that the scheme closed to new entrants on 10th June.  

What if your staff are self-employed?

As we outlined in Part 1, the self-employed are being covered under a separate scheme. Similar to furlough this scheme allowed self-employed staff to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months.

You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership, and you:

  • have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

Self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of income generated from self-employment.

  • Those eligible for the scheme were contacted by HMRC in May 2020. 
  • The SIS Grant does not need to be repaid at a later date (assuming it was validly applied for) and does not preclude an individual from taking on work or other employment during the period of receipt of the grant.
  • It will be necessary to confirm to HMRC that the business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. This is not defined, and there may, of course, be some situations where the individual cannot show a decline in profits, but is able to argue that the profits would have been higher but for the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Individuals who have not submitted a self-assessment tax return for 2018-19 must have submitted this by 23 April 2020 or they will simply be completely ineligible for coverage.  There is no mention of any leeway in the Guidance Note so this is being presented as a hard stop date.

Changes implemented from June:

Rishi Sunak announced that  the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended - with those eligible able to claim a second and final grant capped at £6,570. Those eligible under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) (which has so far seen 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion) will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

June Changes In a Nutshell

In summary the key points of change are:

  • Opportunities to go back to work on part-time basis from 1st July.
  • Employees will be expected to contribute towards furloughed staff "working" wages. 
  • Scheme will run until end of October.
  • Self-employed are not eligible under this scheme but can apply for second wave of grant.

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Looking to the future

It's been a tough time and we are not quite out of the woods yet. This week has seen a return for some retail and catering businesses, with a look towards the Event Industry starting to make a come back in July.  Although there is an amount of uncertainty,  there are a few things you can implement to support your business.  We've put together a CRAP analysis tool to help assess the coronavirus risk at your next event. We've also generated this forecast template to help you look at the bigger picture and plan for the future. What has been really remarkable about the Events Industry in particular is how all facets of the industry have pulled together to support one another. There have been some great innovations that have come out of this, with this in mind we put together this blog of suppliers that are helping reduce the risk of infection at events.

Most of all, stay strong and stay safe everyone - we're nearly there!

 

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