Up and down the country Employers, Employees and Agency Workers would have been delighted to learn that the HMRC’s portal went live on Monday 20th April 2020, putting all Employees and Agency Workers one step closer to getting their 80% payment of their wages from the Government in the form of a grant.

Since the announcement by the Chancellor on Friday 21st March 2020 about this scheme Employers, along with their legal teams and industry bodies, will have been frantically trying to understand and interpret this new legislation and decide exactly what a “Furloughed Status” means for an Employee, an Agency Worker and how this impacts the Employer.

From the initial announcement, businesses like Igloo were trying to ascertain if in actual fact their Agency Workers would even be able to be included in the scheme as none of the guidance or information coming out of the Government suggested that  Agency Workers would be included until they released guidance  late on Wednesday 26th March 2020 that specifically made reference to Agency Workers being included in the scheme.

We were delighted with this announcement and excited to share the news with our Agency Workers that we would do everything possible to ensure we could protect them in these truly difficult times.

From this day on we have been working around the clock along with our Legal Partners and The REC (our industry body) to not only understand the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) but what exactly was needed for Igloo to be compliant with the scheme and  ready to apply when the portal opened.

The first question that needed to be answer was, “are Igloo going to put people on to the CJRS?” There has been a misconception that Employers have to do this. In reality Employers do not need to make use of this scheme should they choose not to, for whatever reason. This could be because Employers still need their employees and Agency Workers in the business or where there has been a reduction in work, they have had to look at other measures such as redundancy. In the specific case of Agency Workers, agencies could of course opt not place their workers on furlough.

Once our Director and Senior Management had decided Igloo would participate in the scheme the next step was for us to ascertain who exactly met the Government’s criteria and who’s assignments ended as a direct impact of the Coronavirus outbreak. We dedicated a member of the team to look after all the queries that were coming through and responded to every query individually to explain what we knew at that point.

Our Company Accountant then had the huge task of sending out letters to all those that did qualify, these letters needed to be personalised and with hundreds of letters to send, he lost evenings and parts of his Easter weekend getting these emailed out. Please join me in saying a massive thank you to Mike for working tirelessly to send out this communication!

If you have received one of these letters and have still not replied, then please do so.

That brings us up to Monday 20th April 2020 and the HMRC application portal and Job Retention Scheme Calculator going live.

We wanted to make our application at the earliest opportunity with the aim of recompensing our workers without delay. Now the portal is open and we can see what specific information is required, specifically for those on variable pay, we are in a position to start compiling the information ready for submission.

This is happening as we speak. We have assembled a team of five, even bringing one of the team back from furlough to help process these calculations to speed up the application process. This interim team is being headed up by our Company Accountant and we have 4 colleagues working within our head office (social distancing of course as you will see in the picture below) and one working from home with their avid PA, Alan the dog.

Please be assured that we are working extremely hard and pushing a lot of resources at this process to ensure we can get the grant application submitted without delay and fingers crossed the grant paid to Igloo  and ultimately passed  on to our Employees and Agency Workers as quickly and as efficiently as we possibly can, whilst ensuring we are fully compliant with the HMRC rules on the scheme.

Once we have any update on payments and payment schedules, we will update our website.

Please continue to email your queries through to compliance@igloodrivers.com

Once again, we thank you for your patience at this worrying and unprecedented time. Please continue to follow the Governments guidelines and stay safe.

 

Here is Alan, smartly dressed in    his tie busy working
from his home office
Mike (Company Accountant), with the CJRS interim team,
social distancing being strictly observed at our Head Office on Tuesday