COVID-19: Flexible Furlough Agreement – FREE TEMPLATES

Lawgistics, the IAAF’s legal helpline provider, has produced some guidance for employers about flexible furlough agreements. They suggest that employers should ask employees to sign a flexible furlough agreement or state their acceptance in writing. This will avoid any doubts and ensure compliance with relevant employment laws, as well as the furlough scheme.

Below is the suggested template of agreement to put your employees on flexible furlough.

Word document: Flexible Furlough Agreement

PDF version: Flexible Furlough Agreement

On 25 June the Treasury issued its third Direction covering the flexible furlough scheme. In somewhat of an about-turn, the requirement for the employee not to do any work during furlough hours is back. This time an instruction will suffice, instead of an agreement.

Interestingly, the Direction also applies the requirement not to do any work when defining which employees are considered as previously furloughed under the original scheme and may be put on flexible furlough.

The Direction also clarifies that the purpose of CJRS is to continue employment. This raises the question whether notice pay can be claimed through the furlough scheme. It was widely understood furlough claim can include notice pay. Lawgistics are awaiting further guidance on this issue.

Employers are required to keep the furlough agreement or confirmation of the agreement at least until 30 June 2025, this is now a condition of the scheme.

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Who is not entitled to redundancy pay and how is it worked out for staff who have been on furlough?

The IAAF’s legal helpline provider, Lawgistics, have produced guidance as the country starts to come out of lockdown, as they are seeing that businesses have taken lockdown as an opportunity to review processes and further embrace digital technologies. These reviews are leading to restructures and redundancies.

For those businesses who find themselves in the unfortunate position of making redundancies, Lawgistics have produced a redundancy pack for their members which sets out all the necessary steps to be taken to ensure they go through a fair process and which will help them avoid an Employment Tribunal claim.

For anyone who has been employed less than 2 years, there is no entitlement to a redundancy payment and neither does the employer have to go through any set procedure. This is mainly because, unless there is an exemption such as discrimination or whistle blowing (which is likely to cover any employee who reports their employer for furlough fraud), anyone employed under 2 years does not have the right to make an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal.

However, even if they have been employed for less than 2 years, they will have the right to make a claim to an Employment Tribunal for Wrongful Dismissal (which is different to unfair dismissal). This means they must be paid what is due to them including any holiday entitlement they have built up while on furlough plus their normal notice period (normally a week in this scenario unless the contract says different).

For those who have been employed for over 2 years, they will be entitled to a redundancy payment in addition to their accrued holiday pay and notice period. If there is nothing in the contract in regard to redundancy pay, they are entitled to the statutory minimum. This can be worked out very easily via the Government calculator. Normally for those who are on commission, their weekly pay (which is a required field on the calculator) is based on an average of the last 12 weeks wages. However, for those who have been on 80% furlough with a £2500 cap, the last 12 weeks wages may not reflect what they normally take home. While the furlough guidance is silent on this, we have checked the wording of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and that refers to a working week’s pay and so as those staff will not have been working while on furlough, we suggest the relevant 12 week period for them in regard to calculating redundancy pay, is the 12 weeks prior to being furloughed.

It is important to get both the process (for those with more than 2 year’s service) and the payment right if a business wants to stay out of an Employment Tribunal and so if you are a Lawgistics member and have any questions please contact them to talk it through and if you are not yet a member, if you sign up to get support on this process, you will also get access to all year round phone and casework support on employment, consumer and any other motor trade related legal issues plus access to our award winning HR Manager software which simplifies the HR function.

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Tips from Ben on how to improve your wellbeing

Our sense of wellbeing is generally how comfortable, healthy or happy we feel about ourselves, and how satisfied we are in our daily lives. Looking after our wellbeing is really important because it helps us cope in times of crisis and can help prevent issues affecting our mental health and physical health.

The good news is that we can develop our wellbeing skills and Ben has shared some tips to help.

To view Ben’s tips on their YouTube channel, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

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Postive feedback on reinstatement of MOTs and news from Northern Ireland

Following yesterday’s announcement that mandatory MOT testing in the rest of the UK will recommence with effect from 1 August, the IAAF has received a great deal of positive feedback.  The comments below from Andy Hamilton, CEO at LKQ Euro Car Parts, are typical of those received:

“While we recognised the need for the MOT extension given the lockdown travel restrictions and amount of garage business closures throughout March to May, we welcome the decision to close the extension from the end of July.

“There is now a risk that many motorists may have unsafe vehicles on the road. Recommencing MOT testing is essential in ensuring roadworthiness, and helping keep the UK’s road users safe.

“As an industry, there are steps we will need to take to adapt for the new demand curve that will begin in October and prepare workshops for the high number of tests that will be required throughout the winter months.

“With this in mind, we’re encouraging garages to prepare now. This includes ensuring testers stay on top of their training to make sure they are ready not just to deal with, but to benefit from this increase in demand. Investments in increased capacity are likely to pay off, so we also suggest training up new testers, and considering whether there’s scope to add another testing bay in the workshop.”

MOT and driver testing services in Northern Ireland: Minister plans for phased return

NI Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced that the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) intends a phased return of MOT and driver testing services in the coming weeks in Northern Ireland.

The DVA has already reinstated limited Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) testing to ensure supply chains and the health service continue to be supported during this time of significant challenge and is working to expand this service.

A statutory authorisation process for ADR vehicles, used for the carriage of dangerous goods, has also been introduced.

From July 20, the DVA plans to resume MOT testing for priority vehicle groups, including those vehicles that are not able to avail of Temporary Exemption Certificates (TECs).

This includes taxis and buses due a first time test; vehicles not previously registered in Northern Ireland; vehicles with MOTs that have expired by more than 12 months, including vehicles previously declared SORN and those sold by car dealerships.

MOT testing for other vehicles such as four year old cars and motorbikes, three year old light goods vehicles and testing of heavy goods vehicles, trailers and buses is planned to commence in August.

An exact date will be confirmed once the demand for the initial priority groups has been addressed. These customers will be sent reminder letters with details of how to book a test at the appropriate time.

There are also plans to reinstate some driver testing services in July for those licence categories where testing can be done safely in line with PHA advice and guidance on social distancing requirements.

This includes motorbike driver testing, planned from July 6, and tests for drivers of buses, tractors and module 4 CPC tests for lorry, bus and coach drivers, planned from July 20.

Driver theory tests remain suspended at this time.

The Department for Infrastructure said: “DVA officials continue to engage with colleagues in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency in GB and it is anticipated a date for the resumption of this service will be confirmed shortly.

“The Department is also exploring options for an extension to valid theory test pass certificates for those customers whose certificate has, or will expire, during this crisis.”

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COVID-19: Updates for employers from the Pensions Regulator

In these unprecedented times, the Pensions Regulator is making it easier to stay up to date with the latest pensions information. Please read these guidance updates for employers of a defined contribution pension scheme.

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Regulator has updated guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Changes reflect:

  • how furloughed staff working part-time affects contributions
  • other technical guidance on areas like salary sacrifice

Trustees have a responsibility to ensure that scheme members are paying and receiving the correct contributions. Please make sure you are aware of these changes.

Read the employer guidance now.

Reporting requirements – what pension schemes need to notify from 1 July

In response to COVID-19 the Regulator relaxed some reporting requirements. But from 1 July trustees will need to start reporting again on breaches such as:

  • suspended contributions
  • late valuations
  • delays in cash equivalent transfer value quotations and payments
  • failure to provide audited accounts

Read the reporting duties guidance update now.

Help vulnerable savers contact administrators

It’s important that during COVID-19 the most vulnerable savers remain able to contact administrators. For those digitally disengaged, that may mean via post or telephone services. Please encourage scheme trustees to work with the administrator to ensure this provision is in place.

Read the updated scheme administration guidance.

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REPXPERT creates Covid-19 e-learning module to support workshops getting ‘Back on Track’

As the aftermarket continues to get back on track, the government, along with leading industry organisations, have made lots of valuable business guidance available to help workshops reopen safely.

The GEA, IAAF, IMI, SMTA and the SMMT have combined to produce a raft of aftermarket specific information, which can be downloaded from any of the association websites.

Schaeffler has used all of this valuable information to create an e-learning module, using text and audio, to help garage owners and technicians take on board all of the key guidelines they need to be aware of in order to keep the workplace safe for both staff and customers.

The e-learning module is the perfect addition to the ‘BACK > ON TRACK’ initiative, which has already seen 2,000 workshop essentials packs delivered to 2,000 garages across the UK and Ireland.

At the end of the module is a short assessment, after which you can download a ‘Covid-19 aware’ certificate, a set of workshop posters and the e-learning module itself, in PDF format, so it can be kept for reference.

Visit the REPXPERT website at www.repxpert.co.uk to learn more, and find a link to the training.

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LIQUI MOLY boosts support for emergency services

The oil and additive specialist LIQUI MOLY is once again expanding its support for rescue services and relief workers to products now worth four million euro. “With the products we give away free of charge, we provide financial relief for numerous aid organizations so that they can procure other equally necessary equipment,” says Managing Director Ernst Prost.

To support rescue services, fire brigades and other first responders that are at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus, LIQUI MOLY announced at the beginning of April that it would provide them with products worth one million euro. “We help with what we do best: oils, additives and other vehicle care products,” Ernst Prost said at the time.

Requests for help poured in from emergency forces not only in Germany, but from all over the world. The demand was so great that the company soon afterwards increased its aid package to three million euro. “We have now shipped products worth these three million euro. Down to the last cent,” says Ernst Prost. “Every day, we still receive numerous requests for free goods for fire engines or ambulances, for emergency vehicles, for mobile care services, meals on wheels, and many more … Should we really stop now? Should we not give the ‘late bloomers and stragglers’ anything more now?” asks Ernst Prost.

No, he decided. Social responsibility is more important than maximizing profit in the year-end financial statements. Ernst Prost: “The good cause is worth another million euro to us and we are hereby increasing our 3-million-euro product donation to make it a 4-million-euro product donation. All to help the helpers!”

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Hayley Pells talks mental health in the aftermarket, apprenticeships and customer supplied parts in latest podcast

The latest episode of Monday’s with Mark is now available and you can listen to it here. In part two of Episode 3, Hayley Pells from Avia Autos talks about a number of topics including the automotive support group, mental health in the aftermarket, apprenticeships, customer supplied parts, what’s popular in the garage and why you shouldn’t transport a piano during lockdown!

Key topics discussed are highlighted below:

0:43: Automotive support Group
03:30: Mental health in the aftermarket
08:40: Future of apprenticeships
10:35: Customer supplied parts
13:45: What type of work is being carried out by the garage

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Mandatory MOT testing to be reintroduced from 1 August

Mandatory MOT testing is to be reintroduced from 1 August 2020 as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly lifted, Roads minister Baroness Vere has announced today (29 June 2020).

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, drivers were granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing in March to help slow the spread of the virus. However, as restrictions are eased when safe to do so, all drivers whose car, motorcycle or van is due for an MOT test from 1 August will be required to get a test certificate to continue driving their vehicle.

MOT tests are important for road safety and ensure that vehicle parts, including tyres, seatbelts, brakes, lights and exhausts, are in proper working order.

Drivers with an MOT due date before 1 August will still receive a 6-month exemption from testing. However, all vehicles must continue to be properly maintained and kept in a roadworthy condition, and people are able to voluntarily get their MOT sooner should they wish, even if they are exempt from the legal requirement. Motorists can be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said:

“As people return to our roads, it is vital that motorists are able to keep their vehicles safe. That’s why as restrictions are eased, from 1 August MOT testing will again become mandatory.

“Garages across the country are open and I urge drivers who are due for their MOT to book a test as soon they can.”

Only some garages remained open to conduct essential services during the coronavirus outbreak, but now over 90% are open across the country. Testing capacity has already reached 70% of normal levels and is steadily increasing.

While exemptions are still available for vehicle owners with an MOT due date before 1 August, it is vital that drivers still take their vehicle to be checked if they notice something is wrong in the same way that they usually would.

If drivers are vulnerable or self-isolating they should contact their local garage as many are offering pick-up and drop-off services, so drivers can get their car checked without having to visit a garage.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has also issued guidance to all MOT testers about safely conducting tests in line with the latest government advice.

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“End of MOT extension will make the roads safer,” says IAAF

Motorists will no longer be able to extend their MOT for six months from 1st August. The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) welcomes the news, arguing that it will not only significantly increase road safety but will have a much needed boost to the automotive sector overall.

The IAAF previously stated that delaying MOTs for a six-month period causes “huge challenges” for the sector, as it inevitably results in thousands of dangerous vehicles in operation, posing huge safety risks. The federation believes the announcement will ensure this number is significantly reduced.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “The entire automotive aftermarket needs this news and it will have a positive effect on many businesses. As people begin to head back to work, the number of cars on the road will inevitably rise, with more people set to avoid public transport and rely instead on personal mobility.”

The IAAF is now urging the industry to encourage drivers who have previously made the decision to extend their MOT to bring their vehicle in as soon as possible.

Williamson added: “We’ve already been hearing from members who have experienced concerning issues first-hand, whereby customers have been driving around in vehicles that are a threat to the safety of the driver and the general public.

“Most importantly, this move will reduce the number of motorists driving un-roadworthy vehicles and will benefit the aftermarket as more cars are brought in for essential testing, service and repairs.”

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