Category Archive: Education

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

On Friday evening (29 May), the Chancellor announced a number of changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the “Scheme”) which will take effect over the coming months. The full details of the changes are yet to be published, but here is a summary of the main changes:

  • from 1 August employers will be required to start paying national insurance and pension contributions;
  • from 1 September the Government will only reimburse 70% of salary (maximum of £2,190), with employers having to top up the remaining 10% (or more depending on what is agreed with an employee);
  • from 1 October the Government will only reimburse 60% of salary (maximum of £1,875), with employers having to top up the remaining 20% (or more depending on what is agreed with an employee);
  • the Scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June, meaning that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June, in order for the current 3 week furlough period to be completed by 30 June;
  • part-time working will be allowed under the Scheme from 1 July, brought forward from August as originally intended; and
  • the Scheme will close on 31 October 2020.

In terms of part time working, HM Treasury has confirmed that from 1 July, employers will be able to bring employees on furlough leave back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern. Employers will be able to claim under the Scheme for any of an employee’s normal hours not worked, whilst having to pay any full hours worked together with the tax and NI contributions on those payments. To be eligible for a continued grant under the Scheme, employers will have to agree a new flexible furloughing arrangement with their employees and confirm this agreement in writing.

Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims is due to be published on 12 June.

You can find the full details published so far here.

If you have any questions in relation to the content of this article please contact a member of the Employment Team.

Three in four universities ‘breach law on website information’

An recent article in The Telegraph highlights that three quarters of universities are breaching consumer law by failing to tell students what their fees will buy them – according to a new report.

Other vital information universities are not making available includes contact hours they will have with staff and a student’s expected workload, an investigation by consumer group Which? revealed.

The report comes as universities come under fresh pressure to be transparent on their use of tuition fees following their increase to up to £9,000 a year and student’s overall average debt totalling more than £45,000.

Institutions that fell into unlawful category by failing to provide updated course fee information included the University of Cambridge, King’s College London and the University of St Andrews.

The report also said Oxford University could do better when providing information about core modules and details on extra costs.

Separately, the investigation revealed three institutions – Canterbury Christ Church University, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Huddersfield – were consistently adopting unlawful practice by failing to provide more than 30 per cent of the information required.

The Competition and Markets Authority published advice in March setting out how consumer law applies to the higher education sector, including measures to ensure information is available to students so they can compare courses and make an informed choice.

But Which? said nearly two thirds of institutions failed to provide students with up-to-date information on course fees, and four in five did not state or provide clarity on any extra fees students may have to pay to complete the course.

Overall it found 76 per cent of the 50 universities it looked at are breaching consumer law by failing to provide prospective students with vital information.

At Sintons, our education team offers clear, concise and practical advice to school governors, trustees, directors and head teachers on a variety of educational and commercial issues. We understand the challenges and complexities of working within the education sector and, due to our expertise, we can provide you with a comprehensive advice service, tailored to your individual needs.

If we can assist you in any way, or if you want to discuss the needs of your educational organisation, please contact us at any time.