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Coronavirus latest updates

All coronavirus updates will be published on this webpage. You are advised to visit this page daily to ensure you are up-to-date with all the latest coronavirus information.

Please also see our About the virusStay at home guidance and Further information and FAQs webpages for more information. 

Thursday 9 April 2020

On 8 April 2020, Jim Harra, First Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive of HMRC, and Cerys McDonald, Director of COVID-19 policy at HMRC, gave an update to the Government's Treasury Committee on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). They confirmed that the CJRS is due to open for employers to submit their claims on 20 April 2020, and the HMRC is expected to make the first payments to employers by 30 April 2020.  

Please note that these dates are subject to change. We will update you as soon as we receive further updates from the Government. 

Saturday 4 April 2020

We have sent the email out to supply staff who are eligible to furlough at 3pm today to the email address which staff have registered with our Payroll Portal. Emails may take a while to reach inboxes due to the volume sent. The email will show as being from Payroll Support via Survey Monkey. Please remember to check your junk email if you do not see it in your inbox. We need staff to respond as soon as possible to let us know if they do or do not want to be furloughed under the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Thursday 2 April 2020

We wanted to provide you with a brief update on what we’ve been doing behind the scenes to make sure we have everything in place ready for when the system for the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) goes live, and to confirm the next steps going forward.

What's happened since our last update?

The Government is still saying that they expect the CJRS will be up and running by the end of April.

Our Payroll team has been working alongside our payroll software provider on an update to our system, which will enable us to identify supply staff who are eligible for being furloughed and calculating furloughed salaries.

The CJRS only allows us to furlough supply workers that we cannot offer work because of the coronavirus pandemic. These workers must have been on ABC Teachers' payroll on 28 February 2020 to be eligible for the scheme.

Payments for furloughed supply staff will be processed as soon as we receive the Government grants.

The next steps...

In the next couple of days, we will email all supply staff who are eligible for furloughing, asking them to confirm if they do or do not want to be furloughed. If you receive an email, it’s important that you read the information carefully before responding and action our request as soon as possible.

We will update this webpage to confirm when the emails have been sent to supply staff who are eligible for furloughing.

Thank you for your continued patience.

Sunday 29 March 2020

We are pleased to confirm that the Government has now issued further guidance on their Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which confirms that agency workers who were on ABC Teachers' payroll on 28 February 2020 may be eligible for the scheme.

What happens now?

We are waiting for the Government to issue further guidance on calculating and processing payments using a new system, which they are currently developing. The Government expect the scheme will be up and running by the end of April. 

We will email agency workers that we cannot offer work, to confirm that they will be furloughed and provide further instructions on what they need to do. We can back date pay to the date when no work was available for them. We expect this date will be the Monday after all the schools closed (Friday 20 March 2020).

What do you need to do?

Until we receive further instructions from the Government, there isn’t anything that we need you to action.

Please be reassured that we will complete everything required of us with the highest priority, to ensure agency workers who are eligible for the scheme receive their payments as soon as possible when the Government’s new system goes live.

What the Government has said about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme so far:

    • It’s a temporary scheme which has initially been set up for at least three months, starting from 1 March 2020, and employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.
    • Employers can claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees who are not working) wages, up to £2,500 a month, plus the employer’s pension and national insurance contributions.
    • The scheme is for employees who are not working, and staff are unable to work whilst they are furloughed.
    • Wages will be subject to usual PAYE deductions.

    Further guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available on the .Gov website

    We hope this news brings some welcome relief for our agency workers during what we know has been a very unsettling time.

    Thank you for your continued patience.

    Wednesday 25 March 2020

    Following on from the Government's announcement about an employment and wage subsidy package on Friday 20 March, we’ve had a number of concerned supply workers getting in touch for updates about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Please see the latest update on the scheme below.

    What we are awaiting further clarification on

    We are waiting for the Government to confirm if our supply workers are included in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as the guidance issued is unclear.

    What the Government has said about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme so far:

    • Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access grant support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
    • Employers will need to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’, and notify employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
    • Employers will submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal.
    • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Salaries will be subject to normal PAYE deductions. HMRC is working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement as existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.
    • The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1st March and will be open initially for at least three months – but it will be extended if necessary.
    • There’s no limit on the amount of funding available for the scheme. The Government will pay grants to support as many jobs as necessary.
    • The Government expect the first grant payments will be paid within weeks, certainly by the end of April.

    If the Government confirm that our supply workers are eligible for the scheme, these are just some of the questions we will need the Government to clarify:

    1. How will wages be determined? For example, will it be 80% of last month's salary or an average of the last three months?
    2. Does the £2,500 cap include employers’ pension and national insurance contributions?
    3. What’s the criteria for backdating pay to 1 March?
    4. What if a supply worker has only just registered with us and not worked any bookings?
    5. When exactly will we receive the grants to enable us to pay our supply workers?
    6. Is there a minimum period that a supply worker has to be furloughed?
    7. What does this mean for the supply staff who are still working in schools that are offering provision for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils?

    Our Payroll team is unable to provide any further information specifically about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the Government has issued further guidance to employers. Please be reassured that as soon as the Government answer the above questions, we will contact you to let you know what this means for you.

    Tuesday 24 March 2020

    Following the Government’s announcement on Friday 20 March 2020 about the employment and wage subsidy package being put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic, we have already received a number of enquiries from concerned workers. Please be assured that it is our top priority to understand what this package means for all of our supply workers and we will, of course, communicate this to you once further information is given by the Government. To enable us to deal with any questions you may have, and support you as best we can, please direct any relevant queries or questions to payrollsupport@abc-teachers.co.uk.

    We are encouraging our supply staff to make a Universal Credit application as soon as possible if you haven't already done so. Please see the .Gov website at www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-universal-credit for more information. You will not have to go to the jobcentre to claim Universal Credit if you’re advised to self-isolate. If you are already claiming Universal Credit, the amount of Universal Credit you receive automatically changes if your take home pay changes.

    Monday 23 March 2020

    During Sunday’s briefing, the Government stressed the importance of people in high risk categories self-isolating. The NHS has not defined these high categories yet, but they will be writing to these people in the coming days. Candidates who receive a letter should contact their consultant to let them know if they are self-isolating.

    We are still awaiting further details on the Government’s employment and wage subsidy package. We will communicate more information as soon as we are clear what this means for our supply staff.   

    Sunday 22 March 2020

    No additional information to update.

    Saturday 21 March 2020

    The following email has been sent out to all active supply staff:

    Following the Government’s announcement on Friday evening about the employment and wage subsidy package being put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic, we have already received a number of enquiries from concerned workers.

    Please be assured that it is our top priority to understand what this package means for all of our supply workers and we will, of course, communicate this to you once further information is given by the Government.

    To enable us to deal with any questions you may have, and support you as best we can, please direct any relevant queries or questions to payrollsupport@abc-teachers.co.uk.

    For more general information, please see the coronavirus webpage on our website for the latest information and updates.  

    Many thanks for your patience during what we know if a very difficult and unsettling time.

    Kind regards, 

    Payroll Team

    Friday 20 March 2020

    The Government announced that they are putting an employment and wage subsidy package in place amid the coronavirus pandemic. We are waiting for more information to be published to enable us to understand what this means for our supply staff and will update you as soon as we know more.  

    Most schools will close from today to everyone except vulnerable children and those with a parent identified as coronavirus key worker – see the full list of identified workers on the .Gov website.  

    All Vision for Education offices are closed to visitors as all our staff are now working from home. This is to ensure we are doing all we can to help slow the spread of the virus, which will help save lives and protect the most vulnerable. There are no changes to our office opening hours and contact details.

    Thursday 19 March 2020

    Most UK schools will close from Friday until further notice to slow the spread of coronavirus to help save lives and protect the most vulnerable. Schools will need to provide some provision for children of key workers (such as teachers, NHS, police, social care and supermarket delivery drivers) and vulnerable children including pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP). Nurseries and private schools will also need to do the same.  

    Wednesday 18 March 2020

    No additional information to update.

    Tuesday 17 March 2020

    The COVID-19: Stay at home guidance was updated yesterday evening. The updated guidance states: 

    Stay at home if you have either: 
    - a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back, or  
    - a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly. 

    Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home. Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home. 

    How long to stay at home: 
    - if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days, or 
    - if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms. 

    If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days. 

    Monday 16 March 2020

    We are continuing to monitor the coronavirus updates issued on the .Gov and NHS websites and the Prime Minister's daily briefings, which are due to begin to today.  We will then publish daily updates for supply workers, to make sure you are up-to-date with all the latest coronavirus developments.  

    We have sent a text to all active supply workers to ensure they notify us immediately if they are a coronavirus risk as per the categories issued by the Government.

    Current guidance  

    The 'COVID-19: Specified countries and area with implications for returning travellers or visitors arriving in the UK in the last 14 days' guidance was replaced by the 'COVID-19: Stay at home guidance' on 13 March 2020. However, the original guidance still needs to be applied for people returning from Category 1 or 2 countries/areas pre-13 March 2020. The guidance for people who have come into close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case has also been updated as they now need to seek advice from their Local Health Protection team to see if they also need to self-isolate. 

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