The CICV has produced a new open source guidance document, which is now available to download on the CICV website. Aimed at employers, it gives advice on case management of COVID in the workplace.
FIS Chief Executive Iain McIlwee commented:
FIS is a member of CICV on behalf of our community and this advice is a great example of why. COVID hasn’t gone away, but as employers we still need to manage cases and wider risk – whilst framed for Scotland it is a great reference source for wherever you are in the UK.
Employing Ukranian and Afghan Workers
Minister for Refugees Lord Harrington has written to businesses confirming that Ukrainian and Afghan nationals have a right to work in the UK where they have resettled under the Ukraine Family Scheme, Homes for Ukraine Scheme, Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy or Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme. Although the exact process will be determined by how the individual arrived in the UK, employers should conduct right to work checks in the usual manner and contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service (ECS) if further verification if required.
In his letter the Minister re-iterates that all employers in the UK have a responsibility to conduct simple right to work checks before employing someone. These checks are required regardless of nationality – even British citizens are caught by the measures.
Afghan nationals who have resettled in the UK under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy or the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, and Ukraine nationals who have resettled in the UK under the Ukraine Family and Homes for Ukraine Schemes have a right to work. To evidence that right, employers should conduct right to work checks in the usual way.
For Ukraine nationals, the exact process required of the employer is shaped by how the individual arrived in the UK and the documentation held. But, broadly speaking, at the time of writing:
- Where an individual has a stamp in their passport which provides a time-limited right to work, the employer will need to manually check the passport as set out in published guidance, and perform a follow-up check to ensure the required documentation to evidence the right to work for a longer period (i.e. a Biometric Residence Permit) has been obtained;
- Where an individual has an eVisa (digital evidence of their immigration status, accessible online), the employer should use the online right to work checking service on GOV.UK in the same way as they would for others in possession of a biometric card; and
- Where an individual does not have a passport but instead has an Entry Clearance vignette attached to a ‘Form for Affixing the Visa’ (FAV), where necessary this document can be used as proof of right to work in conjunction with confirmation from the Home Office Employer Checking Service (ECS) in the form of a PositiveVerification Notice (PVN). However, in most cases, shortly after arrival a BiometricResidence Permit is available for collection, and this should be used to access the online checking service.
Where necessary, employers may contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service(ECS) verify right to work:
End of COVID-19 Temporary Changes
The temporary changes to right to work checks introduced in response to COVID‐19, which allow employers to undertake checks via video calls and use scanned copies rather than original documents, are due to end on 30 September 2022. After this date, employers are recommended to verify an individual’s right to work using a certified digital identity service provider (IDSP).
The relevant guidance on Right to Work Checks can be accessed here.
You can visit the FIS Employment Toolkit Here
The Recovery Loan Scheme, which originally launched in April 2021 to help businesses recovering from the pandemic, has been extended to 2024.
The maximum loan size remains at up to £2m, and the principle behind the extended scheme remains unchanged: the government will underwrite 70% of lender liabilities, at the individual borrower level, in return for a lender fee. Lenders must ensure that the benefits of the government guarantee are passed through to businesses.
Full details of the scheme are available on GOV.UK.
The Covid-related relaxation to the rules on claiming expenses for working from home has now been abolished. What this means is that if your employees *can* work from home if they choose but you have not *required* them to work from home, they can no longer claim home office expenses (they should check their 2022-23 notice of coding).
There is a clear statement from HMRC that “You cannot claim tax relief if you choose to work from home” which you can find here and there is a “check your status” tool employees can complete for themselves here.
May is a busy month of deadlines which members are encouraged to factor into their planning.
- 19 May If you are not paying electronically, this is the deadline for PAYE/NICs/CIS/Student Loan for the month ended 5/5 and for CIS returns. These payments need to clear HMRC’s bank account by 22 May.
- 31 May deadline for employees to have received P60s from their employers.
- 31 May Companies House should have received 31/8/2021 private company accounts and 31/11/2021 accounts for plcs.
- 31 May CT self-assessment returns for companies with accounting periods to 31 May 2021.
This issue of Newsline, exclusively available to FIS members, also includes as update on when a non-construction business can be “deemed” to be within CIS, avoidance schemes and National Insurance Contributions. Read the latest issue here.
From Friday 1 April, the Government guidance to stay at home for five days following a positive COVID‐19 test will be removed, along with the Working Safely During Coronavirus guidance and the health and safety requirement for employers to explicitly consider COVID‐19 in their risk assessments. As a result, the Build UK COVID‐19 flowchart will be withdrawn and the Site Operating Procedures and the Use of Face Coverings in Construction will remain available as reference documents only from 1 April.
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme has now closed, and the deadline for submitting final claims is today at 11.59pm. Government guidance on travel to the UK has also been updated and people are no longer required to take any COVID‐19 tests or fill in a passenger locator form when arriving from overseas.
A COVID-secure titled risk assessment is no longer legally requiredk however COVID-19 still presents a risk to the workplace which employers are required to manage in line with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992.
If FIS members already have a risk assessment in place, they’ll need to review the content and controls, as it is now over to employers to formulate a policy on employee self-isolation.
With the responsibility of keeping workplaces safe and COVID-secure now sitting even more heavily on the shoulders of employers, FIS Associate Member Citation has seen an increase in enquiries on how to manage COVID-risk. To help address this, they have created a free checklist covering everything employers need to know.
The free guide can be downloaded from https://tinyurl.com/fislearningtolive2022