The current period of disruption may impact on staff's ability to work in a number of ways. The University has put in place a number of measures to make sure your pay is protected as far as possible if you are unable to work due to the impact of Covid-19.
  • Special arrangements have been put in place for additional sick pay while NHS non-emergency procedures are delayed 

Read more on furloughed staff, hourly-paid lecturers, self-isolation and pay and additional sick pay

Furloughed staff - updated 25 June 2021

The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the Scheme) is part of a package of measures to help employers during the coronavirus pandemic. It is designed to help employers continue to pay, and therefore retain their staff. It has again been extended to come to a close by the end of September 2021.

The Scheme is being run by HM Revenue and Customs (HRMC) and will allow employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus to submit claims in respect of employees who they have little or no work for their employees to do, who will be designated as being 'furloughed'.

The Government will cover 80% of furloughed employees' wages for the hours they do not work, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. From July 2021 the level of benefit will reduce as follows: 

- July - the Government will contribute 70% and employers 10% for hours not worked 

- August and September - the Government will contribute 60% and employers 20%
Employers will continue to be responsible for paying national insurance contributions (NICs) and pension contributions. 

Employers will not be required to contribute to employees' wage costs other than NICs and pension contributions until July 2021 (but they can choose to top up employees' wages at their own expense – the University will top up wages).
Find out more about the scheme on the HR webpages.

From 1 December 2020, an employer cannot claim under the Scheme for any days that a furloughed employee is working their notice period (contractual or statutory) to end their employment with the University.

This scheme amendment applies to staff who have voluntarily resigned an appointment (including retirement), along with staff who have been issued with notice to end their employment by the University. 

The exception to this scheme rule is for staff who are ending their fixed term employment, on its natural expiry date. 

Fixed term contracts that have not already expired can be extended or renewed, provided it would have been extended or renewed in any other circumstance and any approval is subject to current recruitment review procedures.

The Scheme (which was due to close at the end of October 2020 and then extended to the end of April 2021) has now been extended to the end of September 2021.

The University currently ‘tops up’ the salaries of any staff furloughed under the current Scheme in order to maintain their normal pay. As a result, both Employee and Employer pension contributions will continue to be deducted from salary and paid in the normal way.

There is no detriment to the staff member as a consequence of being furloughed. They will continue to have all the same contractual rights and, aside from confirmation of their furloughed status, their employment contract is unaffected. Their furloughed status does not mean that they are likely to be selected for any less preferential treatment in the future (e.g. redundancy selection). 

Furloughed staff are helping the University to deal with financial pressures created during the pandemic, and so the University would hope and expect that staff notified of an intention to furlough them will not object. 

Any concerns that staff do have should be addressed to their line manager in the first instance, or to a trade union or staff representative, or to a member of the HR team.

Employers are not expected to apply for grants for staff for whom they receive public funding. As much of the University’s income is directly or indirectly provided via the public purse, not all posts will be eligible.
Staff groups likely to be eligible under the Scheme include: 

• Staff who work in bars, catering and sports where venues have been closed and the staff can’t work from home and where there's a significant proportion of income from commercial activities or other non-public sources. 

• Timesheet staff who would have been scheduled to work. 

• Researchers on non-public funded projects where work has had to be paused. – e.g. in the case of a researcher whose salary is directly covered by grant funding but the research is paused under a no-cost extension then a claim for wages under the furlough scheme would be permitted to cover salary costs.

Staff currently on sick leave can be furloughed only after that period of leave has ended.

Staff are eligible to be furloughed under the Scheme if they were on the employer's payroll on 30 October 2020. For periods starting on or after 1 May 2021, employers can claim for employees who were employed on 2 March 2021 (as long as the employer has made a real time information (RTI or payroll) submission to HMRC in respect of the employee on or before these dates). 

The Scheme covers all types of contracts and there is no restriction as to employment status. It covers those on substantive, fixed-term, full-time, part-time, timesheets and apprenticeship contracts.

The Scheme applies to employees on any kind of contract, so fixed term employees are eligible.

Managers will be asked to consider the staff that they believe could be considered for furloughing using information supplied by HR. In deciding which staff to furlough managers should consider the following principles when reviewing their staff groups: 

a) that it can be shown there is a significant operational impact from coronavirus that prevents the relevant staff member from carrying out their normal work activities. 

b) that in considering the overarching purpose of the Scheme managers should consider the extent to which wage costs might be successful in being claimed back from HRMC. 

c) that any decisions are made on a considered basis and that there is a clear and defensible rationale for the decision provided on a ‘case by case basis’ by the manager on why staff are being furloughed. This will be particularly important in situations where work is continuing but the pool of staff carrying out that work can be reduced in order that some staff can be furloughed.

  • You work in an area of the University where services are temporarily not required;
  • You have no work or a reduced amount of work as a result of temporary changes necessitated by the pandemic (e.g. the lab that you work in is closed or your workload has reduced substantially); • For reasons related to the pandemic you are unable to work for some or all of your usual hours (e.g. because you need to look after children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing; care for someone who is vulnerable; your living environment is incompatible with doing your job from home; or your job cannot be carried out remotely); or
  • You have been designated by the NHS as being ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and you are unable to undertake some or all of your duties remotely due to the nature of your job or your home environment.

The University will send a letter via Staff Connect to each member of staff it considers should be furloughed to inform them that it intends to designate them as a furloughed worker for a set period, clarifying the period, advising them what this means and to provide an opportunity for them to ask any questions they may have.

Subject to staff not raising an objection, this change will become effective and staff must not undertake any work for the University for the period specified or must not work in excess of the hours stated for their furlough period (where flexibly furloughed).

Your manager will contact you if you are asked to return to work earlier than your furloughed end date or if you are asked to return part-time, and you will be provided with reasonable notice that you are to be ‘un-furloughed’ or brought back part-time. You will receive either written or verbal notification to confirm that you have returned to your role. 

The situation is constantly evolving in line with the Governments response to the pandemic, and the University operates within the Government guidelines.

In a situation in which some work is still required but the number of staff required to carry out that work has reduced due to the impact of coronavirus, as an alternative to keeping all staff working but on reduced hours, managers may instead rotate staff and apply flexi–furlough in these cases for the staff.

Staff can be furloughed under the Scheme if they were on the employer's payroll on 30 October. For periods starting on or after 1 May 2021, you can claim for employees who were employed on 2 March 2021.

Managers should discuss individual scenarios with HR.

Pay will be calculated according to the rules of the Scheme, full details of which can be found on the Governments site.

The National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) only apply for hours actually worked. Furloughed workers, who are not working, must be paid 80% of their average salary, up to £2,500 per month even if this would be below the NLW or NMW.

If staff meet the eligibility criteria, they may be placed on furlough leave or flexible furlough leave for one or more of their posts.

The Scheme allows employers to furlough employees who are unable to work due to caring responsibilities relating to childcare, including temporary closure of schools, nursery or care of other dependents. 

The University recognises that balancing work and caring responsibilities can be difficult, depending on roles and individual circumstances, and would urge employees unable to work due to caring responsibilities, to discuss their situation with their line manager. They will be expected to act reasonably in terms of their work expectations and should consider whether the employee could be eligible to be furloughed under the Scheme. 

This FAQ should be read in conjunction with the interim University Covid-19 pay policy. It sets out our temporary deviations from the standard policies, recognising staff may find it difficult to work from home or while caring for dependents and that staff are concerned about their pay. 

The COPE Framework also offers guidance as to working during this time.

An apprentice is able to be furloughed under the Scheme so that their learning is paused and, in some cases, the planned end date can be extended. 

Further information regarding the furloughing of apprentices can be obtained from the Employee Apprenticeship Manager, Loretta Izod: l.j.izod@kent.ac.uk.

Staff on furlough leave will continue to accrue holiday in the normal way. If staff wish to take leave during this period, they may do so subject to the agreement of their line manager. Staff who wish to cancel leave whilst furloughed, should discuss this with their line manager, who will review subject to the provisions of the interim Annual Leave policy and procedure.

Where staff are furloughed for long periods of time, booking and taking of annual leave should be discussed and arranged with their line manager throughout the period, to avoid a large build-up of accrued untaken leave.

Furloughed staff can take part in volunteering or training where it does not provide services or generate revenue for the University. If the University requires any furloughed employees to undertake training, then they must be paid at least the National Living Wage (NLW)/ National Minimum Wage (NMW) for this time and depending on the circumstances may receive normal pay.

Hourly-paid lecturers

Hourly-paid lecturers (HPLs) who have moved their teaching online and continue to support their students should continue to submit timesheets to their school for payment as normal. HPLs who are not able to continue with their teaching duties due to it not being possible for their work to go online or be carried out remotely, should speak to their school about alternative activities to cover all hours expected to be worked, ie preparation time as well as contact hours. 

You can find out more about our pay policy during the Covid-19 pandemic for individuals paid on timesheet, including hourly-paid lecturers, on the HR webpages.

Self-isolation and pay

Yes, any member of staff self-isolating in accordance with the government guidelines will receive their normal pay. Where the member of staff is able to work from home, they should do so provided they feel well enough. Staff who are self-isolated but not able to work from home should inform StaffWellbeing@kent.ac.uk and their line manager, who will record their absence as paid authorised absence (code AAP) in Staff Connect.    

Hourly paid or timesheet staff who self-isolate in line with government guidelines will be paid for the hours they were expected to work and their absence will be recorded as paid authorised absence by their line manager.        

Additional sick pay

The NHS has advised hospitals to suspend all non-emergency elective procedures for an undetermined period. In order to ensure staff already in receipt of long-term sick pay are not disadvantaged by the NHS delay, the University plans to maintain the current level of sick pay (either full pay or half-pay) for an initial period of up to three months, pending receipt of a (new) treatment date. These arrangements will be reviewed in the summer if the NHS continues to defer treatments or if delays are experienced due to a high backlog of deferred treatments.    

As Employee Relations staff in HR are already aware of long-term sickness cases, they will liaise directly with you, your line manager and Occupational Health to identify and implement any payment arrangements that may be required, based upon NHS appointment dates. This approach will protect your confidentiality.  

Sickness absence due to Covid-19 should be recorded as Authorised Absence (Paid), rather than sickness. This means that your sickness record, trigger points and contractual sick pay entitlement are unaffected.  

If you are available for work and you have already agreed working hours with your manager, then your manager will arrange for these hours to be paid to you by completing a ‘batch timesheet’ and submitting it to the Pay Office in the usual way. If you have not agreed any working hours then you will not be paid.

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