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Frequently Asked Questions: COVID 19 And other Topics (February 2021)

Can employers require employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19?

Covid-19 vaccines are not available yet for employers to purchase to provide to employees. Employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety at work of their employees, and therefore are encouraged to communicate to employees the benefits of them having the vaccine when they are contacted via their GPs.

Employers need to be careful if they try to make it mandatory for employees to have the vaccine, as this could raise legal issues relating to discrimination on grounds of religious belief, age and disability.

Can an employee take holiday while on furlough?

The Government guidance confirms any employees that are on furlough are able to take annual leave as normal without furlough being affected.

Employers are responsible to top up the furlough pay, to pay the employees their normal rate for any holiday taken.

Can an employee with childcare issues be placed on furlough?

Government guidance from January 2021 advised that furlough can be used for parents who cannot work due to child care issues following the school closures; however this is not mandatory and is just an option for employers if they need to do so.

Do we have to allow employees to work from home if they can attend the workplace?

Yes, the current government guidance is that if employees can work from home, then it is best for them to do so.

A lot of parents who are working from home also have children to care for and help with home schooling, therefore it is recommended that employers are more flexible with them due to the circumstances.

What if we cannot allow employees to work from home?

As long as your business is one that is allowed to remain open, then as long as all the measures are in place for employees to be in a safe working environment then employees are allowed to go to work.

Employers must provide PPE to employees if deemed necessary, once risk assessments have been conducted.

What is IR35?

IR35 is where a worker, e.g. consultant, contractor or freelancer, supplies services to a business via their own company. This is also known as “off payroll” working rules. These rules are to prevent tax avoidance.

IR35 applies if the worker would have employee status if they had been engaged directly by the end client.

IR35 has applied in the public sector since April 2017, and is due to be applied in the private sector from 6th April 2021.

With the new rules the client who is engaging the worker, is responsible to assess the employment status to determine if IR35 applies. If IR35 applies the client who pays the workers fees, for tax and NI purpose, is deemed to be their employer.

Does GDPR still apply following Brexit?

Yes, the General Data Protection Regulations still apply in the UK. It was incorporated into UK law when the Brexit transition period expired.

The Data Protection Act 2019 accompanies the UK GDPR.

If you would like further guidance or support on these matters or require advice on other HR matters please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk

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