Surviving Winter Grant – Reminder
You may be eligible for a Surviving Winter Grant towards your bills if you are on a lower income and worry about the cost of heating.
If you are over State Pension age you can apply through Age UK Wiltshire on 0808 196 2424.
If you are of working age and have a health issue made worse by the cold or if you are over State Pension age, you can also apply through Wiltshire Warm & Safe on 0800 038 5722.
You can now submit CJRS furlough claims for periods in January. These must be made by 15 February.
For self-employed, the third SEISS grant closes for claims on Friday 29 January. Eligible clients must claim on or before this date.
Self Assessment deadline – HMRC is urging Self Assessment customers to file their return by 31 January.
Ask for ANI
The government has teamed up with independent pharmacies and Boots to launch a domestic abuse Ask for ANI codeword scheme.The scheme allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal that they need help and access support. By asking for ANI, a trained pharmacy worker will offer a private space where they can understand if the victim needs to speak to the police or would like help to access support services such as national or local domestic abuse helplines.
Eviction Ban Extended
The government has extended its ban on enforcing evictions during the coronavirus pandemic until “at least” 21 February, ministers have announced. The emergency measure, had been due to expire on Monday 11 January.
While courts will be able to process cases and eviction notices can be issued, bailiffs will not be able to enact them until 22 February at the earliest, except as now in extreme cases such as anti-social behaviour.
Question of the Week – Recap on Employment Rights – Holidays
I’m currently furloughed, can I be forced to take Annual Leave?
According to the Government and employment body ACAS, your employer CAN require you to take annual leave while you’re furloughed. They will need to give you notice, generally of at least twice the amount of time you’re being asked to take as leave. So if your employer says you need to take a week’s leave, they have to tell you at least two weeks before (unless your contract specifies a different notice period). Your employer should also speak to you and explain why it needs you to take the leave, and should consider whether you’ll be able to use your leave for relaxation. If you won’t, for example if you’re caring for a vulnerable family member, or you’re ill, then you should be able to challenge your employer.
Can my employer cancel my holiday?
Employers can ask workers to take or cancel holiday with less notice but need the workers’ agreement to do so.
These notice periods are in advance of the first day of the holiday, and the notice must be given before the notice period starts. For example, if an employer wanted to prevent a worker taking a week’s holiday, they would have to give notice earlier than 1 week before the first day of the holiday. For the purposes of calculating the notice period, any uninterrupted period of holiday counts as a single period. These rules on notice periods can be altered by a binding written agreement between the employer and the worker.
Am I entitled to time off to look after someone?
Employees are entitled to time off work to help someone who depends on them (a ‘dependant’) in an unexpected event or emergency. This could apply to situations to do with coronavirus (COVID-19).
A dependant does not necessarily live with the person, for example they could be an elderly neighbour or relative who relies on the person for help.
There’s no statutory right to pay for this time off, but some employers might offer pay depending on the contract or workplace policy.
The amount of time off an employee takes to look after someone must be reasonable for the situation. For example, they might take 2 days off to start with, and if more time is needed, they can book a holiday.
If a dependant such as a partner, child or relative in the same household gets coronavirus symptoms, they should receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as a minimum for this time and they should follow self-isolation guidance. More info here