Although our UK and Republic of Ireland branches are closed, we are still very much ‘open for business’ and here to help. Wherever practicable we are enabling our staff to work from home as per the advice of the UK and Republic of Ireland Governments.
Of course, this may mean that you may notice some background noise from family life when we are speaking to you via phone or video conferencing. Our colleagues have families (and pets!) too so hopefully this won’t be too distracting, and we will all pull together during these difficult times.
The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly and we will be making regular updates to these pages so please check back regularly for the latest.
Questions relating to health and wellbeing
What is the best advice if I think I have the symptoms of Covid-19 (coronavirus) (e.g. any or all of a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) or have had close contact with someone who has?
England – contact the NHS here
Northern Ireland – contact HSC Public Health Agency here
Republic of Ireland – use the HSE service here who will put you in contact with your local Department of Public Health staff to give you information and advice.
Scotland – use the NHS Inform service here
Wales – use the NHS Direct service here
In all cases use the online or telephone services and do not visit your doctor.
I am worried about COVID-19 and my personal situation, is there any mental health support available?
Questions relating to sick pay
What evidence should I produce for self-certification due to COVID-19 / coronavirus or self-isolation?
If UK employees are off work for 7 days or less due to illness or upon having been explicitly advised to self-isolate by the NHS due to COVID-19 symptoms, they do not need to give their employer a fit note or other proof of sickness from a medical professional. The worker can self-certify for absences of 7 days or less, by completing a self-certification form (available from your branch consultant) or by confirming the same level of detail in an email to their consultant, where that email is clear that it has come from the employed worker. All communications are treated in the strictest confidence.
Those who have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate are able to obtain an “isolation note” by visiting NHS 111 online and completing an online form, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a “fit note” after seven days of sickness absence. Isolation notes will also be accepted by Jobcentre Plus as evidence of your inability to attend.
Regulations have been amended so that SSP is payable from the first day of coronavirus-related sickness absences, where the period of incapacity arose on or after 13th March.
Will I still get paid if I self-isolate?
In the UK, if Government advice is that you should self-isolate, then you will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if your contract specifies. Choosing to self-isolate beyond what is medically required is treated as a voluntary matter and we would not normally pay workers in such circumstances.
Do I have to be currently on assignment to qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?
To be entitled to SSP, employees must meet the below criteria:
- Have average weekly earnings at least equal to the lower earnings limit (LEL), currently £118.00.
- Be currently engaged on a PAYE basis by an Adecco Group brand. For our employed associates this does not mean you must currently be on assignment, but you must have commenced at least one assignment under your employment contract.
In the Republic of Ireland, workers can apply direct to the government for illness benefit. In response to COVID-19, the Irish government have introduced emergency SSP pay measures which will allow all affected workers to claim €305 per week from day 1 of sickness absence, including self-isolation (effective and backdated to 9th March).
If I am not eligible for SSP in the UK, can I request holiday pay for this period?
Yes, if you are not eligible for SSP for any reason and are not currently in assignment or receiving any other statutory payments (e.g. Maternity Pay) you can request holiday for this period. You should request your holiday in the normal way through your local branch.
Will limited company workers get sick pay?
Where a worker chooses to provide their service through a limited company, our contract will be with the limited company and not the worker. As such limited company workers are not normally entitled to in work benefits such as SSP.
Can I claim SSP if I have signed a contract of employment but have never been on assignment with you?
No. Employment under our General Staffing employment contracts does not commence until the Employee has commenced their first assignment after their employment contract is signed
Questions relating to the UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) for PAYE workers
Am I eligible for the UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough)?
The Government clarified that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the “Scheme”) extends to workers on agency contracts (which includes our temporary workers and associates who are on PAYE contracts).
The Government’s guidance is that PAYE workers must have been on our payroll on or before 19th March 2020 to be eligible for this scheme. This means an RTI submission to HMRC notifying payment in respect of an employee must have been made on or before 19th March 2020. Any worker who joined our payroll after 19th March is not eligible for this Scheme.
The purpose of the Scheme is to assist businesses whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. The Adecco Group are therefore working with clients to identify impacted temporary workers and we are in the process of contacting those impacted workers who might be placed on a temporary leave of absence from their assignment.
Agency workers can of course claim unused holiday pay up to their accrued balance and their branch Consultant will be happy to help them.
Does the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) apply to the public sector?
The Government (per guidance issued on 4th April 2020) does not expect the Scheme to be used by many public sector organisations as most public sector employees are continuing to provide essential public services or contribute to the response to the coronavirus outbreak. The guidance also makes clear that where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, that employers should use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion and not furlough them.
The Adecco Group’s understanding is that our public sector clients will instead follow the separate guidance issued by the Cabinet Office for Contingent Workers affected by COVID-19 which applies to all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies. That Guidance encourages other public sector contracting authorities to also use that approach.
The Guidance states that where such Contingent Workers are unable to work due to COVID-19, for example, due to sickness, self-isolation, or the temporary closure of offices, they should be paid at 80% of their pay rate up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. This should be backdated to 1 March 2020 if necessary and will be available initially for at least 3 months.
The Government have said that limited company contractors with public sector engagements in scope of IR35 as deemed employees might be eligible under the job retention scheme. Whilst we expect the above guidance to supersede the need to utilise the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme affected contractors should speak to their Adecco Group consultant.
I work through my Limited Company, am I eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
It may be possible for private sector contractors who are supplied through their own limited companies (Personal Service Companies) to furlough themselves – they would need to take their own independent legal advice on this.
I work through an umbrella company, am I eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
The Adecco Group only works with umbrella companies that offer PAYE solutions and such workers would therefore be employed for tax purposes by the relevant umbrella company. If such workers were on that umbrella company’s payroll on or before 28th February 2020 then the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme could still apply to these workers. Workers should speak to their umbrella company for further details.
Where workers are potentially eligible, their Adecco Group consultant will liaise with the end client and umbrella company to determine whether or not the worker would need to be placed on furlough.
What about the Statutory Self-Employed Pay Scheme?
In addition to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the UK Government announced a separate statutory self-employed payment scheme which could benefit those working on a sole trader basis.
If I’m eligible, how much will I receive under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
For workers who have worked for the Adecco Group for 12 months or more, their gross pay will be based on 80%. HMRC initially advised that, up to a monthly maximum of £2,500, this should be based on the higher of:
- the same months earnings from the previous year; or
- average monthly earnings for the 2019-2020 tax year
However, that guidance has since been updated to include a suggested example calculation. Whilst the guidance still refers to a “monthly wage”, the suggested calculation for employers to follow in fact results in a “daily rate”. Throughout the pandemic Adecco has been committed to acting quickly to support its temporary workers, but where the Government’s guidance has changed, this may mean that some payments previously made by the Adecco Group may need to be changed in light of the suggested calculation methodology. These changes will be reflected in the payslips of affected temporary workers. Workers will receive a payslip for payments made. There is also a guide on the Government website here.
Can I receive SSP and be furloughed at the same time?
The Guidance is clear that it is not possible for workers to receive SSP and be furloughed at the same time. Workers who are on sick leave or self-isolating can get statutory sick pay but can be furloughed once they are no longer receiving SSP.
However those who are classed by the Government as extremely vulnerable and therefore shielding in line with public health guidance need to stay home with someone who is shielding, can be placed on furlough if they are unable to work from home. In these circumstances workers should provide their consultant with a copy of the NHS letter which confirms this instruction.
I’m on reduced hours, can I receive 80% of my lost earnings?
No, the scheme is only for those whose role has been terminated or suspended completely as a result of COVID-19.
Questions relating to Republic of Ireland
What is the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme?
The above scheme (see link here) is available to employers from all sectors (except for the public service and non-commercial semi-state sector) who are able to make a declaration to the Revenue confirming they have lost a minimum of 25% of turnover due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It encourages employers to keep their staff on payroll either as temporarily not working or on reduced hours. It is expected that the scheme will operate as a subsidy payment based on 70% of the weekly average take home pay for each employee up to a maximum of €410.
Employees must have been on the employer’s payroll on 29 February 2020. and the employer must have made payroll submission on their behalf to Revenue in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020.
Is there any help available to those workers to whom the Wage Subsidy Scheme does not apply?
Social welfare payments (see link here) are available to people:
- With no work or reduced hours
- Who are sick or who are looking after someone who is sick
- Who cannot work because they are looking after children
COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (see link here).
This payment is for employees and self-employed people living in Ireland who have lost all their employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The payment will be paid for the duration of the pandemic at a flat rate payment of €350 per week. People cannot receive both the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and a payment under the Wage Subsidy Scheme.
Questions relating to other working matters
If I have been placed on furlough by an Adecco Group company at the end client’s request, can I work for another employer?
The Governments updated guidance (as of 4th April 2020) makes clear that workers who are placed on furlough by the Adecco Group may not make money for or provide services to the Adecco Group but may work for a different employer where their contract permits.
Accordingly workers who have been placed on furlough by their current employer outside of the Adecco Group, may find work through the Adecco Group company where their contract permits. In such cases the worker must complete Statement C of the Governments new starter declaration
If I care for a child whose school has closed will I still get paid?
As a worker, you would not normally be entitled to be paid if you’re not working. However, we are encouraging all our clients to facilitate alternative arrangements wherever possible which will allow workers to continue to work and be paid.
Where alternative work arrangements are not possible, workers who have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus can be furloughed. This could include workers who need to look after children.
Do I still have to visit a branch in person to show my ‘Right to Work’?
Following UK and Republic of Ireland Government requirements, our UK and ROI branch network staff are all currently working from home. However, due to our investment in the latest technology, and the UK Government’s temporary relaxation of its right to work requirements, we will be able to verify documents remotely via video links and other means. Candidates may contact their local branch by email or telephone to discuss options for this to be completed.
Can I claim expenses due to working from home?
This would be dependent on the client where the work is performed and whether or not they are prepared to pay expenses.
Am I a ‘key worker’?
This would be for the client where the work is performed to determine. If they believe there is a reasonable basis for this then our consultants will ask our clients to confirm and communicate this to the worker accordingly. Where applicable we are asking clients to provide letters to workers evidencing that they are key workers.
If you require further guidance or assistance please email us at: UKIcandidates@adeccogroup.com or call our hotline on 01782 358470