We’d like to share the positive news that our 2020 Annual Awards dinner has been rebooked for 1st October 2020. We were thrilled to have secured an excellent alternate date this year, and we wanted to share the good news to give us all something to look forward to!
Please join us for an unforgettable night celebrating inspiring individuals, outstanding organisations and the resilience that our industry continues to show – this year more than ever.
Save the date, Thursday 1st October 2020 at the Glasgow Marriott Hotel in your diary, with our early bird price offer now held all the way until the event date this year. Join us for a night which promises to be full of laughs, recognition for excellence and the opportunity to catch up with friends old and new.
Tickets include pre-dinner drinks, a 3-course meal and table wine
Dress Code: Black Tie / Occasion Wear
Time: 18:30 for 19:15 (until 23:00)
Seating: Tables of 10/12 can be reserved Smaller numbers are also welcome
The Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow Award 2020
In line with our new Annual Awards Dinner date and location, some changes have been made to the submission closing date for The Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow Award. Click here for full information.
Many of you may be aware of the ongoing generosity of Scottish businesses in the donation of PPE equipment to the NHS, and a member in Central Scotland has been in touch to share how their offer to donate available PPE has been warmly received by the NHS Board they contacted. Wider supply chain efforts to ensure frontline NHS staff have enough safety equipment to see them through the coronavirus outbreak are being led by Scottish Enterprise, but in this case every offer of equipment available now may help.
If you have FFP3 or FFP2 type face masks or something similar to the masks below, these would be ideal. Our member company had donated Alpha Solway 3030V, 3M 8833 type masks and we know that Type 2R surgical masks like the far right image would also be welcomed.
Below is the link to the 14 regional NHS Boards across Scotland. Each region has their website and contact details linked to give you a better idea of where you could donate. https://www.scot.nhs.uk/organisations
Your local NHS Board may have specific other PPE requirements that you could help with by contacting them.
The Working Time (Coronavirus)(Amendment) Regulations 2020
The government has announced it will permit workers to carry over up to four weeks annual leave into the next two leave years (EU leave). The additional 1.6 weeks statutory leave are not covered by these Regulations although this can be carried over for up to a year by agreement under existing legislation. This has been achieved by amending Regulation 13 of the existing Working Time Regulations, and allows workers to carry over the EU leave where it is not practicable for them to take some or all of the holiday they are entitled to, due to coronavirus.
This will allow employers under particular pressure from the impact of coronavirus some flexibility to better manage their workforce but still protecting workers right to paid holiday. There is a link to the government announcement below. The Amendment Regulations are still to be published. Scottish Engineering will update members when more information becomes available.
The UK Government has published further guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: this has now been published here.
You may have seen yesterday the Chancellor announced a further package of Coronavirus support, focussed on supporting the self-employed. Details of the SEISS can be found here. Details on all UKG Coronavirus business support measures can be found here, and Scotland specific information is here.
Many of you will have watched the announcements by the UK Prime Minister and Scottish First Minister yesterday evening and have further questions about your businesses. The UK Government Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has clarified this morning that their advice to Business is as follows:
If it is impossible for you to work from home, you are able to go to work. For example, this will apply to those who do manual labour, such as in the construction and manufacturing industries, as well as those who provide services that cannot be done from home.
You are able to go to work if you absolutely have to, unless you are a vulnerable member of society, in which case we urge you to stay at home as per the guidance.
In addition, based on our interpretation of latest Government Advice, this here is the view of Scottish Engineering on 24 March 2020:
There is no blanket closure of Scottish businesses, other than those specifically highlighted beforehand, e.g. gyms, restaurants pubs & clubs.
Those who can work from home should do so. Those who cannot work from home can go into work.
Those who do come into the workplace should observe social distancing guidance or minimise closer contact where not possible.
Train staff in good hygiene and minimise contact, particularly where social distancing is not possible.
Please click here to refer back to our previous Scottish Engineering briefings on self-isolation and sick pay.
This brief aims to answer some of the questions that are most commonly being asked of us this week. Answers will reflect our view of the legal minimum, but employers are free to operate better, but not worse arrangements.
There are a number of considerations that employers should be aware of, such as:
People are advised not to attend GP practices but to diagnose themselves or via NHS 111. This means that getting medical certificates may prove difficult or impossible;
There is a concern that people may take advantage of the ongoing situation, but it is difficult to see how this can be avoided – proving it may prove problematic;
Companies are considering their arrangements for contractual sick pay if it is in place – please contact our team if you are;
Any testing regime which you seek to put in place – temperature checks etc. – need consent to be undertaken.
We have separate briefs on reducing staff and COVID in general.
How do I deal with the following employees who are:
Staying at home to look after children who can no longer attend school due to the school shutdown?
This is likely to qualify for dependent leave for the time that they are required to look after children and is unpaid, and effectively without limit of time. Employers could consider alternatives to unpaid leave such as changing working patterns to help make short term arrangements, using leave etc.
Self Isolating with no symptoms and not working from home?
This would be unpaid or holidays, unless if they are self isolating because a family member is showing symptoms when they would be entitled to SSP. The period of self isolation is 14 days.
Self Isolating with no symptoms but working from home?
This would be paid as normal for the time worked.
Self Isolating due to being in a vulnerable group and therefore not working?
This should be paid as SSP or holidays.
Self Isolating due to being in a vulnerable group and working from home?
This would be paid as normal for the time worked.
Staying at home because of a family member and not working?
This would either be unpaid or holidays. If family member is showing symptoms then SSP would apply. If family member unwell for any other reason the unpaid time off for dependents process would apply, or holiday as the employee prefers. If staying at home because family member is in a vulnerable group but showing no symptoms would be either unpaid or holidays.
Staying at home because of a family member and working?
As in previous briefings, the best information we can provide is to check NHS Inform and other reputable sources of public health information.
The update from the Government in the days past indicated a direction of travel, but not necessarily absolute clarity on the steps we need to take today. As you can imagine, any update can be overtaken by events pretty quickly as the situation evolves.
The Government has announced measures that we should all take which are:
Everyone should avoid gatherings with friends and family, as well as large gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theatres
People should avoid non-essential travel and work from home if they can
All “unnecessary” visits to friends and relatives in care homes should cease
People should only use the NHS “where we really need to” – and can reduce the burden on workers by getting advice on the NHS website where possible
By next weekend, those with the most serious health conditions must be “largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks”
If one person in any household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days
Those people should, if possible, avoid leaving the house “even to buy food or essentials” – but they may leave the house “for exercise and, in that case, at a safe distance from others”
This is not lockdown as it has been implemented in some other countries however – specifically, attendance at work is nor precluded by the above measures, but we should always fall back on reducing the risk to those vulnerable. It looks unlikely that staff who have symptoms, and potentially even the virus will be able to provide medical certification in line with your own expectations or policy, therefore you as an employer will need to be pragmatic.
It’s clear that these measures and their effects will have a significant effect on the economy and our members.
It may also be that we are not able to shield our employees from the financial impact on the potential downturn in business created by these measures and the lack of economic activity, so please see our separate briefing on Lay offs and Short Time Working and Redundancy.
Dealing with reductions in work – Lay Offs and Short Time Working
Being realistic, the impact of the measures taken by the Government in relation to Coronovirus and the impact of the lack of economic activity is likely to lead to exceptionally difficult times for most companies. The Government has released details of measures designed to maintain economic activity, but it is clear that we will need to consider how we react as employers to reductions in orders, work, activity and confidence.
In such circumstances, companies are bound to consider what steps they will take in relation to staffing. It seems likely that this situation will not be over quickly – whilst the numbers of new people with the virus are reducing in China, our strategy is to delay such that the impact is lesser, but lasts longer.
We have outlined a range of steps which companies can consider based on the impact, or likely impact of the situation.
Short Time Working
Short Time Working is where employees work shorter hours and consequentially lower pay, officially lower than 50% of their normal weekly earnings
However, in order to reduce pay, you will need to ensure that there is either a contractual clause – and this is not always the case – or to do it via agreement with your employees collectively if that is how pay is determined, or individually if not.
In lieu of salary, the employer makes a relatively token payment of £29 (increasing to £30 from 6 April 2020) for each non working day, entitled Guaranteed Minimum Pay. So, in basic terms someone normally working a five day week who works on a short time two day week, they would receive two fifths of salary plus £29 for the missed days.
Guaranteed Pay, no matter the length of the Short Time Working period is paid only for the first 5 days of missed work in any 3 month period, so a maximum of £145. An employer can of course pay more than that and for a longer period, but this is the statutory minimum.
If Short Time working continues for either of 4 weeks continually, or for 6 weeks in any 13 week period (with no more than 3 in a row), staff are entitled to apply for redundancy if their weekly earnings are less than 50% of their normal earnings.
It is vital if you are considering it that we outline clearly to staff the reasons behind it – and I think given the circumstances all will be aware of the context – and consider any and all alternatives; using leave, unpaid leave etc.
We have a full practice note which cover al eventualities if you move to Short Time Working, such as consideration of sickness pay and other statutory benefits; if this is something you are considering and would like a chat on it, please contact one of the legal team.
Laying people off is essentially standing them down from any and all work for a period of time, but short of dismissing on redundancy. Lay Offs occur normally when there is serious but relatively short term impact on the ongoing operation of a business – a fire or flood for example. Similar rules apply as to when you can operate lay offs – with contractual provision (collective or in individual contracts) or if you can demonstrate that such practices are common place within your organisation. If they do not apply, then it would need to be an agreed change of contractual terms with the employee. Similar rules apply as to the employers right to claim redundancy if the situation carries on over a period of time as above.
Redundancy is when work of a type diminishes to an extent that the employer needs to reduce their workforce by dismissing staff. There are a number of procedural steps to take prior to any dismissals, which are in broad terms:
Inform: Staff at risk of redundancy should be formally informed of the reasons behind that, which could be a change in business focus, reduction in order or any other organisational or economic factor which means that it is envisaged that fewer roles are required. At this stage it is ‘roles’ that are at risk, not necessarily people and any discussion should focus on that.
Consult: It is a requirement for employers to consult with staff on potential for redundancy, either individually or collectively. If you have union representation then consultation will normally happen with representatives from Trade Unions; if not, then there is a process to allow staff to select and vote for employee representatives who will represent them during the process. Many companies offer a mix and match approach, with some collective meetings and at least a couple of meetings with individuals – more if they are required or requested. There are rules regarding length of consultation relating to how many people you are making redundant – If more than 20, then the period should be a minimum of 30 days, more than that is 45 days. There is no minimum period for numbers less than 20, but it should be reasonable and fair and allow them the opportunity to discuss all that they need to do, and for you to consider all appropriate alternatives.
Select and Confirm: By fair means you will select people for redundancy – competence, skills etc. if there are not alternatives roles or patterns that reduce or negate the need for the roles to be reduced. There are rights to appeal both selection for redundancy and any dismissal by reasons of redundancy.
Please discuss any of these requirements with our legal team who will guide you through these processes, or with any other advice during this time.