Two updates from the Benefits Advisor at the WLCC
The DWP has confirmed the introduction of two temporary carer’s allowance easements in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.In a new edition of Touchbase focusing on coronavirus-related issues, the DWP sets out the following measures designed to ‘help unpaid carers through the current emergency’ –
- carers will be able to continue to claim carer’s allowance if they have a temporary break in caring, because they or the person they care for gets coronavirus, or if they have to isolate because of it; and
- the provision of emotional support to a disabled person will now count towards the carer’s allowance threshold of 35 hours of care a week.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The government has issued updated guidance in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, adding employees off work due to childcare responsibilities to those who are eligible to be furloughed.The revised guidance includes a number of amendments to, and clarifications of, the guidance issued to employees and to employers published on 26 and 27 March 2020 respectively. In particular, the updated guidance advises that employees who are unable to work because of caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19) – such as needing to look after children – can be furloughed.Other key changes to the guidance include that –
- apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees, and that they can continue to train whilst furloughed;
- individuals can apply to the Scheme to access grants to furlough employees, such as nannies, provided they pay them through PAYE and they were on their payroll on or before 28 February 2020;
- where a company is being taken under the management of an administrator, the administrator will be able to access the Job Retention Scheme;
- employees on fixed-term contracts can be furloughed – their contracts can also be renewed or extended during the furlough period without breaking the terms of the scheme; and
- grants can be claimed for the following ‘non-employee’ groups –
- officeholders (including company directors);
- salaried members of Limited Liability Partnerships;
- agency workers (including those employed by umbrella companies); and
- Limb (b) Workers paid through PAYE.
In addition, the guidance clarifies that where an employee has been furloughed, they are permitted to work for another employer, if contractually allowed, and this will not affect the grant that be claimed under the Scheme.