NOT ENOUGH has been said or done to define how zero hours workers will be able to benefit from the job retention scheme in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, says Genevieve Morris a partner at leading accounting and tax advisory firm Blick Rothenberg.
Morris said: “Guidance is needed urgently on how their salary would be calculated, whether this is over the past 4, 8 or12 week average.
“Many businesses that operate in hospitality and leisure industry employ individuals on zero hours contracts, and as this industry is at the forefront of this disaster, the Government should prioritise issuing guidance here.”
She added: “Furthermore, it is not clear whether employers will have to top up the additional 20%. When the chancellor spoke last Friday, he said it would be up to businesses if they decided to top up, but seemed to neglect to comment on whether cutting salaries for staff by 20% would be in breach of their employment contracts and therefore against the law.
“Any guidance issued so far comments that it would likely be up for negotiation between employer and employee, but this is not good enough.
“Where businesses could easily lay people off during these times, saving 100% of their salary costs, more is needed from the Government to encourage them to keep staff furloughed, including guidance on how they calculate their salaries, how quickly they will be able to receive funding and a statement or temporary change in employment law to allow businesses to adopt this approach without fear that they are in breach of employment law.”