Build UK’s update the industry amid the covid-19 outbreak 

The government has updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which confirms how the scheme will change from 1 July 2020 to provide for ‘flexible furloughing’:

  • Employers can only furlough an employee who has previously been furloughed prior to 30 June. The exception is employees returning from statutory maternity and paternity leave, provided that their employer has previously furloughed other employees
  • Employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and on any work pattern while still claiming grant for the hours not worked. Flexible furlough agreements must be for a minimum of one week, and employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once 
  • Employers must confirm in writing with employees and keep records of how many hours employees work and the number of hours they are furloughed
  • If an employee is flexible furloughed over two different calendar months, a separate claim must be submitted for each month
  • From 1 August, employers will have to contribute towards the cost of furloughed employees’ wages

When making a claim, employers will need to provide the number of hours an employee would have usually worked as well as the number of hours they actually worked, and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme calculator has been updated to assist in working out claim amounts for flexible furloughing.

Although the focus in recent months has been on coronavirus, the government is also continuing to prepare for Brexit and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove confirmed on Friday that the Transition Period will end on 31 December 2020 and no extension will be sought.

From January to July 2021, border controls for EU goods imported into Great Britain will be introduced in stages to give businesses affected by coronavirus more time to prepare. The new UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff from 1 January and there will be changes to customs requirements, tariffs, and checks at entry ports. Companies are advised to identify the materials and products that they, and their supply chains, import and the implications of the new requirements.

Build UK is supporting the London Progression Collaboration (LPC), which is aiming to help more than 1,000 Londoners embark on an apprenticeship. Its Reskilling the Recovery programme enables large companies to transfer their unused Apprenticeship Levy funds to local SMEs. A number of Build UK members have already contributed and a total of over £600,000 has now been donated to date. Employers keen to put their unspent Levy to good use can find out more and register with LPC.

The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is supporting small businesses in England with fewer than 50 employees affected by coronavirus with their ongoing fixed property-related costs. To be eligible, a business should occupy property (or part of a property) with a rateable value or annual mortgage/rent payments below For the latest information, visit Page 2 of 2 £51,000, and local authorities are offering grants of up to £25,000 based on local economic need.

Businesses should continue to follow the most up-to-date government guidance and for the latest updates please follow Build UK on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have any construction-specific queries or feedback on what is happening within the industry, please contact Build UK