Right to Work, SSP Rebates and other Employment Law Updates

Since the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, a revised process for checking right to work needed to be adopted. This process remains in place today and will continue until 5 April 2022, unless the Government announces any further changes. If so, I will let you know as soon as possible.

The decision to defer the date followed positive feedback the Home Office received about the ability to conduct checks remotely, saying: “We initiated a review of the availability of specialist technology to support a system of digital right to work checks in the future.”

Currently, Government guidance confirms the following temporary process:

  1. A scanned copy or photograph of documents are sufficient to prove a right to work. Your prospective employee should send them to you via email or mobile.
  1. A video call should then be arranged with the worker for them to present their original documents to the camera. Compare these documents with the digital versions previously sent.
  1. Record the date of the video call check and note it as: “Adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19.”
  1. If your prospective employer cannot produce any of the prescribed documents, you should consult the Home Office Employer Checking Service.
  1. When the COVID-19 crisis ends, you will need to carry out a retrospective check on employees who either started working for the company or who required a follow-up check during the pandemic. This check will need to be carried out within eight weeks of the crisis ending and be marked: “The individual’s contract commenced on [insert date]. The prescribed right to work check was undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19.

If, during the retrospective check, it is found that the employee does not have the right to work in the UK, they should be dismissed immediately.

  1. If your employee has a Biometric Residence Permit or has been granted ‘settled status’ under the EU Settlement Scheme, they can give you permission to check their details online.

Warning employers that they must continue to check the prescribed documents, the Home Office stressed that it is an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

While the current system should continue to support you as an employer, a new digital process enabling checks to be conducted remotely, but with enhanced security, is currently being investigated.

Shielding has Ended

The shielding programme has ended so there will be no centralised guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people and no advice to shield again in the future. Ex-shielders will receive a letter about this from the Government and moving forward will be responsible for managing their own health conditions.

SSP Rebate Scheme also Ended

The Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme ended on 30 September 2021. Any absences from this date will need to be paid in full by employers and can’t be claimed back from the Government. Businesses must submit or amend all claims for periods of sickness before 1 October 2021 by 31 December 2021.

Care Home Workers can Self-Certify Exemption

Care home workers and volunteers can self-certify to get a temporary exemption from the Covid jab; they can continue working as usual past 11 November 2021 if they give their employers the form available on the government website. Temp exemption will expire 12 weeks from the launch date of the new Covid Pass system, but staff can use this to apply for a permanent medical exemption.

If you need any more information on any of the latest changes to Employment Law, or to talk in confidence about how these changes affect your staff and your business, please get in touch. You can call me on 0118 940 3032 or click here to email me.