There are two recurring themes in our conversations with members at the moment. The first, unsurprisingly, is the newly announced Job Support Scheme (JSS) from the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. A cursory glance at the Gov.UK website this morning brings up a four-page document, and only three of those provide any detail as to the scheme, the fourth being a worked example. Whilst confident that the flesh on the bones will appear soon, it does not give us much to go on when trying to determine how this scheme might affect our members.
By way of summary, the JSS is designed to protect ‘viable’ jobs. How this is ultimately defined, and who makes the decision on this point is yet to be established. What we do know is that it is available to all employers (not just those who have accessed the CJRS), although large businesses will have additional qualifying criteria. As with the CJRS, there are conditions as to which employees are eligible.
Employees must work at least 33% of their normal hours. For those hours worked they will receive their normal wage. For hours not worked, employees will be paid up to 2/3rd their usual wage but note that the Government contribution will be capped at £697.92 per month.
Whilst the limited information states that ‘employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee’, there does not appear to be a requirement that the employer utilises the scheme for the entire 6 month period. As it stands, remembering that the scheme commences 1st November 2020, an employer could use the scheme for two, possible three months, and still be able to put an employee on notice of redundancy into the new year. This could become relevant if the Chancellor indicates that the minimum number of worked hours will increase during the course of the scheme.
Much like the CJRS and other grants/loans available to businesses, there is nothing to compel an employer to use the new JSS.
We will continue to monitor this as further guidance is published.
The second theme is insurance. If you are an IPA member and are category Full 1 or Full 2, you benefit from up to £30,000 legal cover for employment disputes. This applies from the start of any discipline/grievance or capability issue and includes Employment Tribunal proceedings if necessary. A couple of members are under the belief that their home insurance will cover them for employment disputes. We cannot advise on financial products, but from a general perspective, some home insurance protections may offer cover for employment disputes. However, as you are only entitled to representation from a work colleague or trade union representative in discipline/grievance, capability and redundancy matters, your home insurance will not, and cannot provide support at such meetings.
After seven months addressing issues within the UK aviation industry as a result of the Covid19 pandemic, we remain inundated with members seeking representation at various meetings. We cannot stress enough the importance of IPA membership at this time, and going into what will remain uncertain times for the aviation industry for the foreseeable future.