Members’ Shared Information

An offer to PoB members from Travel PR

Travel PR’s Welcome Back PR Plan – an exclusive offer for Pride of Britain hotel members 

Travel PR would like to offer Pride of Britain Hotels’ members the opportunity to individually use its specialist PR services at a greatly reduced rate while we all work our way back to “the new normal”.

Over the last few months, we have all experienced challenging times. Our Welcome Back PR Plan is aimed at members who would like to increase their profile in the quality media and achieve a boost in overall awareness and press coverage, including online links (excellent for SEO purposes), in what is a fiercely competitive marketplace.

This would be in addition to what is currently offered within Travel PR’s existing partnership with Pride of Britain Hotels.

The Welcome Back PR Plan would be tailormade for each member hotel, with an agreed set of deliverables. PR activity, which is flexible according to each member’s individual requirements, may include:

  • An initial Zoom meeting to discuss a tailormade PR plan
  • A re-launch press release – highlighting a hotel’s current post-COVID arrangements e.g. restaurant operations, room service, facilities/activities available, non-resident status, etc.
  • A dedicated media target list, to be compiled for each individual property, to include print/online media, lifestyle journalists, bloggers, influencers, and – importantly – media local to the hotel
  • A bespoke factsheet to highlight the hotel’s new policies, e.g. cleaning procedures and safety/social distancing measures, public area facilities/utilisation of garden space, and details of how the hotel is moving forward – a summary of the type of information that the media is actively seeking at present
  • Both reactive and proactive press office service – Travel PR would field media enquiries, proactively pitch news about the hotel, focus on key seasonal periods e.g. Christmas availability and respond to image requests on the hotel’s behalf
  • Press trips would be arranged, with additional quick-hit social media coverage secured if the writer is active on Instagram/Twitter
  • Monthly conference calls for progress updates, brainstorming, senior-level advice, and updates on the ever-changing media landscape
  • Content creation could be done for an additional fee

Timeframe

Travel PR is offering this service to Pride of Britain members for a minimum of three months* up to a maximum of six months. Hotels wishing to continue beyond the six-month period would simply discuss/negotiate a new agreement with Travel PR based on a revised set of deliverables.

*We believe that three months is the absolute minimum amount of time needed for measurable results to be visible; it should therefore be possible to demonstrate a good return on investment.

Budget

  • Based on a minimum three-month period up to a maximum six-month period, the reduced lead-in rate for our PR services starts at a very modest £850 per month plus VAT (which is, as you will understand, the reason that this is a limited-period offer only). It is considerably below our normal starter rate.

Why Travel PR?

  • As the PR agency representing Pride of Britain Hotels, we are already up to speed with all 50 member properties, which enables us to hit the ground running
  • Established in 1997, we are a strategic PR and Communications agency specialising in the travel and lifestyle sectors, and we are fortunate to enjoy excellent relationships with the key media; we know a wide range of journalists and travel editors personally
  • We are an independent team of senior creative PR experts, with far-reaching experience and excellent industry relationships
  • Our contacts, quite simply, give our clients the edge that is essential for good all-round results
  • Please see page 3 below for a snapshot of recent press coverage that has been achieved

What are the benefits of PR for your business?

  • Media relations work is a powerful tool for influencing consumer thinking and consumer actions
  • Communicating through editorial content written by trustworthy journalists provides valuable and sought-after credibility that other forms of communication simply cannot match
  • The average human attention span is now eight seconds (less than a goldfish!), so getting your message across is more challenging than ever… but do not fear, Travel PR can navigate the most effective path to suit your individual needs

 

We would be delighted to have a no-obligation confidential chat with you to discuss your needs and for you to find out more about what we can offer your property.

You can see some sample press coverage achieved by Travel PR below.

Best wishes 

Julia Farish & Sue Ockwell

Travel PR 

Email j.farish@travelpr.co.uk or s.ockwell@travelpr.co.uk

www.travelpr.co.uk / 07786 006514 (Julia) / 07831 126356 (Sue)

July 2020

Covid specific support for housekeepers (Umbrella Training)

Please click on the link below to see details of new training available to your businesses from our friends at Umbrella Training:

https://www.prideofbritainhotels.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/UmbrellaTraining-UKHA_C-Card-v4.pdf

Any enquiries should be referred to:

Sam Coulstock

0333 577 2557 / 07908 041490

sam.coulstock@umbrellatraining.co.uk

Important message from Sky

Update to your Sky account

In March we advised you that we would not be charging your Outlets for their Sky service until a live sport schedule returned and the government restrictions are lifted.

This week sees the return of the 19/20 Premier League season and with even more sport confirmed to return to our screens, we would like to update you on your Outlets’ Sky service.

Our partnership with your business is very important to us and to support you whilst the hospitality industry is reopening, your Outlets’ Sky billing will resume from 4 July and you will receive a 50% discount off your Outlets’ Sky subscription in July and August.

Your Outlets’ monthly payment will be adjusted once your account has been updated and you won’t be charged for any Sky services before 4 July. Whilst the UK government’s intention is to allow Hospitality & Leisure venues to reopen from 4 July, we understand that there are different timetables for easing lockdown in parts of the UK and the position is being regularly reviewed. We appreciate that every business is different and the time it will take to open may vary across the sector.

If any of your Outlets are not authorised or able to open from 4 July, please email a list of the Outlets unable to open, along with their planned opening date to michael.cross3@sky.uk by no later than 26 June, otherwise you may be billed for your Sky service at those Outlets.

Live sport is back
With the return of the 19/20 Premier League and the EFL Championship season on our screens, there is still everything to play for, with scores to settle, relegation to avoid and titles to be won. Hot on the heels of this season, we move quickly into the new 2020/21 sporting season where Sky Sports will continue to bring your business the games that matter. And it’s not just football that’s back. We have live weekly action from the PGA Tour, racing from Royal Ascot and club rugby from the southern hemisphere’s biggest names.

We understand that getting your business back up and running will be your number one priority, and it is very important to us that we continue to support you during this time. If your Outlets’ Sky box has been switched off during the lockdown period, we would recommend checking your equipment so you are ready to show Sky content when your customers return. To help you get back up and running as quickly as possible, please follow our step-by-step guide to help you through that process.

If you wish to discuss any of the information in this email, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Simon Raggett
Managing Director 

PoB key contact: Michael Cross

Sky Business – National Accounts Manager Hotels
07970809561

michael.cross3@sky.uk

Sky Business, Grant Way, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 5QD

Very nice hand sanitizers (not sponsored)

Dear Pride of Britain members,

I’d love to put a wonderful brand on your radar. Purdy & Figg create bespoke sanitiser solutions for hotels that are both effective, luxurious and competitively priced.

We are family – run business, created in accordance with WHO standards and blended with a heady mix of essential oils sustainably derived from plants and naturally abundant materials. Their products shift the whole experience of hand sanitising to a luxurious one.

We are working with some of the most exciting hotels including The Newt in Somerset. We understand that every hotel is unique, so all our options are bespoke and personalised.

They include:

  • Public Totems
    Personalised motion – activated hand sanitiser totems for your hotel’s public areas, indoors and outdoors
  • Purdy & Figg Bottles
    Available in dark blue or green 20ml & 50ml glass bottles and blends come in 3 unique scents
  • White Label Service

Add a bespoke label with your branding to each bottle so guests remember you wherever they go

  • Signature Scent
    Our founders can create a sensuous & exclusive scent for your hotel

We have developed a one-stop-shop luxury solution for hotels to help guests feel safe and our focus is to work with hoteliers to create the ultimate safe guest experience.

Please get in touch to order a sample or to brainstorm possibilities with your hotel.

Best wishes

Amy

Amy Buckingham | Hotel Partnerships
M: +44 (0) 7762 366 488

E: amy@purdyandfigg.com

www.purdyandfigg.com

Insta: @purdyandfigg

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue Management for a changing world (Robert Holland)

As we draw closer to the reopening of our hotels, there are many questions that remain unanswered.

 Will the pent up domestic demand be enough to fill our hotels for the rest of the summer?
 Is a “staycation” appealing enough to replace an overseas holiday?
 Can a hotel offer enough reassurances to make the customer feel safe?
 Do my guests want my staff to be wearing face masks and gloves?

A recent survey of country house hotels customers conducted by DHM marketing suggested that 79% of guests were waiting for hotels to reopen before making a booking, with 68% planning to take
a minimum 3 night UK holiday this year. Pride of Britain research shows that 86% of guests would expect the cost of their stay to stay the same or increase. Booking engine provider, Avvio, is reporting larger average transactional values than in previous years from it’s 4 & 5 star Irish clients
since the government there announce the date for the reopening of hotels.

The expectation is, that demand will gradually rise as consumer confidence grows, and a vaccine available in September would do wonders for our industry but this is still a long shot. Unaware of the intentions of our competitors, gauging supply is difficult. We may all have the desire to hold our rates but what if our competitors are charging just a little less and demand is still soft.

How loyal are our regular customers and indeed the wider online audience in general. Whilst I am not advocating dropping prices, it is important at all times to be aware of what your competitors are doing as well as how much demand there is in your marketplace. The internet allows us to reach a far wider audience than ever before and a tempting offer might encourage
guests to choose the Yorkshire Dales over the Cotswolds or Devon instead of Cornwall.

Traditional revenue management systems have used algorithms based on historical performance to anticipate future demand. But in this unprecedented time, what use is historical performance? How
will that data work next summer when the algorithms are trying to understand the impact that Covid-19 has had on our occupancies this year?
Revenue Managers will be having to constantly monitor the activity of their competitors whilst juggling the rebooking of postponed events, reanalysing their market segments, looking at dynamic pricing related to length of stay with the added challenge that the potential hurdles of social
distancing and longer cleaning regimes will create for hotel inventory.

At HotelPartner, our team of revenue managers have been working throughout the lockdown on behalf of our 450 partners across Europe, some of whom have remained open despite the fall in demand. Our technology enabled service has meant that our team can constantly monitor the
change in demand whilst using rules to modify prices and restrictions in real time, dependent on occupancy, time to arrival, market demand and competitor pricing. With updates possible every 4 minutes, our clients are able to keep ahead of the competition and are assured that they will be first
out of the blocks as their markets reopen and their guests return.

One partner that has been open throughout the crisis is Sunborn Yacht Hotel in London’s Excel. With the opening of The Nightingale Hospital in April, demand from key workers was strong.
“With the Corona crisis having taken up all of my time at the end of March, I am indebted to HotelPartner for their ability to work independently in order to manage our revenue and ensure that the impact of all of the cancellations and postponements at Excel was mitigated. Whilst we cannot make up for lost business, I am confident that we are in a strong position to maximise the yielding opportunities later in the year. With the reassurance that they continue to work as part of my team, my own focus has been on supporting Excel and their incredible journey to create the Nightingale Hospital.”
– Arun Kumar, GM Sunborn London Excel

No-one can accurately predict what the future may hold for our industry but one thing that we are all convinced about is that demand will return and our hotels will once again flourish. In a changing world, it is important that we adapt our businesses to thrive in what will be the “new norm”. We
would like to show you how HotelPartner’s revenue service could be an invaluable component in your set up. Costing significantly less than a human resource and delivering round the clock
distribution management, our success based pricing will work to support your business as it returns to financial success. We have been subsidising our partners fees throughout the closure and have made a commitment to do so until the end of the year. I would very much like to answer any
questions that you may have and hope that our services may assist you to get what you deserve and maximise the yield of your bedrooms.

Robert Holland
Managing Director, UK & Ireland

Hotelpartner UK Ltd
Portfolio-Centre
1 Northumberland Ave.
WC2N 5BW London | United Kingdom

T          +44 (0)7879 497227
M         rho@hotelpartner-ym.com
www.hotelpartner-ym.com

COVID-19 Secure guidelines (draft) from UK Hospitality

COVID-19 Secure guidelines and risk assessment for hospitality businesses

As at 20 May 2020 DRAFT

 

Positioning hospitality for an optimum recovery

COVID-19 Secure advice and risk assessment for hospitality businesses

UKHospitality, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, has identified three key principles and procedures as we look towards the hospitality, leisure and tourism sector gradually re-opening venues, in order to play our part in the national economic recovery.

This is caveated by businesses being clear they do not wish to move ahead with re-opening before the time is right in this regard and there is a willingness to remain closed in support of the Government health-led advice in place.

  1. A phased approach to re-opening determined by social distancing guidelines as part of stage 3 of the Government’s reopening roadmap
  2. Continued and enhanced support for closed businesses (furlough, rents, financing)
  3. Industry-developed operational risk assessments to ensure businesses are COVID-19 Secure (such as this document)

The Government’s COVID-19 Secure guidelines are the legal requirement to adhere to make your business COVID-19 safe.

 

[NOTE: RELEVANT GUIDELINES/NATIONAL ADVICE FOR DEVOLVED NATIONS WILL BE APPLICABLE AS APPROPRIATE IN SCOTLAND AND WALES]

 

To do this, you must have an individual risk assessment for your premises outlining how you are meeting these guidelines, and carry these out in your business to keep your staff and customers safe. An example risk assessment will be available with the full guideline document.

 

The sectoral advice in this document is a collation of good practice inform your robust risk assessment and changes to your premises and operating plans, supported by individual risk assessments for each specific site as each hospitality business is different.

 

It will be key to ensure that all elements of the risk assessment can be evidenced in a practical way in line with the Government COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This document brings together input from across the wide spectrum of hospitality businesses to help inform their own risk assessments for their individual businesses.

 

This has been subdivided into different industry sectors to assist businesses in developing their own risk assessments, in line with Government guidance, to ensure they can open and operate safely for their staff and customers in line with Government COVID-19 guidelines. Some businesses will operate across sectors and therefore multiple standards should be referred to.

 

The Covid-19 Secure standards for hospitality business will be posted online.

 

The sectoral advice below has been developed to support the reopening of hospitality businesses in a safe and secure manner. This outlines core areas that you should focus on – including staff and customer protection. It also highlights specific functions within your business that should be considered as part of your reopening plan and Covid-19 Secure risk assessment. Some parts of your operation may fall into different categories, and the document is intended to enable you to consider measures in all elements of your COVID-19 Secure risk assessment for your individual business.

The template COVID-19 Secure risk assessment is intended to act as a guideline for own risk assessment for your business. You must complete an individual risk assessment to demonstrate compliance and understanding of the Government COVID-19 Secure standards (which can be found online) and measures you are taking to comply with them. The risk assessment must be completed by the lead manager of your site with operational oversight. The risk assessment must be accompanied by evidence of compliance and the measures you have taken to meet the COVID-19 Secure standards.

We envisage compliance checks will be carried out by enforcement bodies such as Environmental Health Officers, and these will be responsible for checking your risk assessment, evidence and your operational practices in place in your establishment.

  • Read and understand the Government COVID-19 Secure advice
  • Read and understand the relevant advice sections below and how these can apply to your own business
  • If there are any areas not covered by this standard, please refer to other standards
  • Make any adjustments to your operating procedures and premises based on this advice and any other changes that you identify
  • Talk to your staff to gauge their concerns and whether you plan addressed them and, if not, how these can be addressed
  • Complete your risk assessment reflecting the above
  • Compile evidence to support your risk assessment
  • Be prepared for an enforcement visit

 

  1. Hotels, accommodation and hostels
  2. Restaurants and casual dining
  3. Pubs and bars
  4. Nightclubs
  5. Amusement parks, attractions, family entertainment centres
  6. Holiday Parks
  7. Quick service, coffee shops, takeaways
  8. Food Service Management
  9. Risk assessment and appendices
  10. Glossary

 

Our core aim is to ensure our staff and our customers are safe in our businesses

 

Please note that this is a working document, the operational requirements outlined in this document are taken from current operational practice and existing health and safety guidelines carried out by all hospitality businesses, enhanced social distancing measures taken from World Health Organisation advice, and UKH member planning for their individual businesses.

These protocols have been developed by individual hospitality sub-sectors and other partners, as each sector and businesses within them are different. However, by using these guidelines to develop site-by-site risk assessments businesses will ensure they meet the COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

 

Examples for businesses to consider as part of their risk assessment:

General staff safety for all premises types

  • This is paramount. Guidelines contain details and recommendations to ensure you keep your staff safe.

 

  • First and foremost, ask all staff to wash their hands immediately before leaving home and when arriving at work to wash their hands immediately upon arrival. This is vital.

 

  • Duty managers/appropriate person should remind everyone to wash their hands again at the start of every shift (in addition to washing hands at arrival). That way any virus particles picked up on the way to work are removed before they can be spread to others either via direct contact (do not shake hands) or by touching hand contact surfaces (door handles, tables, kettle handles, kitchen equipment etc.)

 

  • Return to work interviews

 

  • Heightened disinfection needs to be undertaken to disinfect all frequently touched areas in staff areas such as tables, chairs, counters tills, card machines etc.

 

Hotels

  • If staff help guests with luggage, keep the required distance apart from guests whilst collecting luggage and either take it to the room before the guest arrives there or knock on the door, step back and leave the luggage at the door. After handling luggage, staff should wash their hands or use a hand sanitiser afterwards.
  • Room service – consider using trays which can be left off the floor next to the door, or think of other ways to protect the order, for example a small light table, or a folding luggage rack both of which have been disinfected first. Staff should knock on the door and leave the tray outside the door and step away. The guest can then pick the tray up, and the staff can remove the tray stand or table etc.
  • Lifts – consider minimising lift usage from reception, and advice for safer use of lifts throughout the hotel, can be advised in pre-stay communications and in-building signage and staff communications

 

  • Consider central key card deposit box placed in lobby for disinfection of room keys.

 

  • Hotel gyms and spas – Numbers permitted into a spa/gym will be within safe guidelines and monitored through the day; booking system for spa/pool usage.
  • Residents encouraged to change in hotel bedrooms to minimise crowding of changing rooms
  • Reception – no handshakes – adopt a USP for greeting guests.

 

Restaurants and casual dining

  • Individually wrapped condiments and sauces should be offered on request and put with the plated food, not left on tables
  • Cutlery to be brought to the customer with the food and condiments rather than customers helping themselves or left on the table.
  • Develop your table plan and arrangement based on the current physical distancing distance guidelines operational at the time.
  • Customer contact with commodities (e.g. menus, trays, napkins) should be limited to what is necessary or designed in such a way that cleaning / replacement is carried out after each use. Menus left on tables/table talkers discouraged in favour of other forms of display to the customer. Consider the use of single-use/laminated menus brought to the table.

 

  • Use disinfectants and sanitisers that are effective against bacteria as well as cold and flu viruses, as recommended by the current Government advice which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings
  • Cleaning regimes for kitchens should reflect the need to reduce risk from coronavirus as well as maintaining all normal expectations relevant to a food business regarding hygiene.
  • Control movements of staff to maintain mandated social distancing measures where possible i.e. include one person at a time allowed in the chilled stores or dry stores, or the changing rooms and toilet.
  • Handwashing of glassware, plates and cutlery should be avoided where possible with glassware washed separately from plates and cutlery.

Pubs and bars

  • Assess the flow of staff and customers in the pub as part of the risk assessment. For bar orders, inform customers to keep the minimum safe distance from barstaff as well as from other customers waiting in a queue to be served – e.g. directed by tape marks on the floor, signage.

 

  • Measures to consider include managing the bar to create directional movement of customers ordering drinks at a till point, then moving to a second point to collect their drinks.

 

  • Consider restrictions on customers remaining at the bar after ordering and getting their drink

 

  • Advise that empty glasses are collected from tables by staff, and customers discouraged from returning empty glasses to the bar.

 

  • Beer gardens/outside areas – although easier to manage if a large outdoor area, there is a danger of groups forming. Consider as part of your risk assessment – Regular patrol of outside areas, smoking/vaping areas, restrictions that may be required for children’s play areas

 

  • Toilets – As part of your risk assessment, have a plan specifically for customer toilets to ensure compliance with physical distancing rules and ensure all staff are aware.

 

PoB membership fees - updated 21.5.20

Having spoken with a number of member hoteliers in recent days, and in the light of current expectations for trading over the remainder of this year, we feel it is time to set out the plans, agreed by your non-executive board, for the collection of membership fees beyond June.

As you know, fees in April, May and June were waived and we have managed to achieve significant savings within the PoB operation to facilitate this. Both of our non-furloughed employees have taken voluntary pay cuts of 50%, matched by similar sacrifices on the part of our freelance supporters. Almost all suppliers have agreed to generous concessions, for which we are grateful, such that our marketing budget is protected in the short term. Sponsorship income has been largely unaffected by the crisis and we are extremely grateful to our commercial partners for that.

We are currently working on the new ‘Welcome Back’ campaign – more details to follow.

There is a strong acceptance for the need to collect some fees so that PoB can deliver the kind of marketing and other support you have come to expect, whilst understanding the challenges each hotel is facing too. Here, then, is what we believe to be the fairest possible system for the restoration of fees for the remainder of the year:

  • July, August & September: 50% of your normal monthly amount
  • October, November & December: at 75% of the normal amount
  • From January 2021: return to normal

Taking into account the 3 months at full fee (January, February & March) and then 3 months without any fee (April, May & June) followed by these quarterly stages, over the whole calendar year members will have benefitted from a 44% reduction in the cost of membership.

 

You may expect to hear from Michelle shortly regarding the setting up of a direct debit, which will replace the standing order mandate used previously.

Thank you for your support as always,

Dan Rose-Bristow          Peter Hancock

Chairman                        Chief Executive

Thermal Imaging solution (found by Craig Bancroft)

Details that I have sent previously – Guide have now improved this further to bring in some clever alert software that makes the system more Hotel Friendly .

In term of Thermal Imaging – this is an affordable solution and they do provide 3/ 5 year payment plans might well be on interest to the membership at large , they also are specialists in Security

See more info here: https://www.prideofbritainhotels.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Covid-.pptx 

Contact details below

Best wishes

Craig

____________________________________________________

Kenneth C Currie

Commercial Director

Guide Security

 

Mobile: 07392 085994

Office: 01254 778 300  |  0845  058 0011

Email: Kenny.currie@guidesecurity.co.uk

Web: www.guidesecurity.co.uk

Twitter: @GuideSecurityUK 

Guide Security Services Ltd | 3 Arkwright Court |  Blackburn Interchange  |  Commercial Road  |  Darwen  |  Lancashire  |  BB3 0FG |  Registered in England 3246838

 

Foot operated hand sanitizer (found by Craig Bancroft)

This company sells foot operated hand sanitizers, which could be extremely useful in hotels and restaurants:

WEC Group Limited – CCTV Division

Click here to see an image of one of their foot-operated hand sanitizers.

Steps to minimise risk + insurance update (James Hallam)

Please see the report by clicking this link:

https://www.prideofbritainhotels.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Hospitality-Planning-To-Reopen-V1-2020.pdf

Peter,

I thought it would be useful to provide an update on the insurance situation in respect of Covid-19 business interruption losses.

Firstly, as I have stated before it was never the intention of the insurance industry to cover a global pandemic and various clauses were inserted into their wordings to limit their exposure following the SARS outbreak in the noughties. However, in some wordings these exclusions are either poorly drafted or missed out completely and whilst insurers have generally, whatever the strength/weakness of their wording, denied liability there are grounds were challenges could be made.

As a result, we at James Hallam have employed a law firm to obtain a legal opinion on our wordings and we will be consulting with our clients when this review is completed. Whilst, we can’t promise a successful challenge we will argue if the legal opinion is different from the insurers opinion.

Taking legal action is expensive and there is no certainty of winning so signing up to one of the action groups such as Crowd Justice or Hospitality Insurance Action Group is an option to limit your costs during these difficult times. I have spoken to both of them and they will offer value and assistance but have different methods of working to consider.

If any Pride of Britain member whether a James Hallam client or not would like to discuss this or any other insurance/risk management related matter please contact me on – 07818 036566

I hope to see you all very soon.

David Noble – Director of Hospitality and Leisure

STR webinar: impact of COVID-19 on UK & Ireland hotel performance

COVID-19 impact on UK & Ireland hotel performance.

Webinar conducted by Sarah Duignan, Aoife Roche & Michal Rao from STR.

Please follow this link to register and view a recording of the recent STR webinar:

https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/6801336343808583438

Business interruption claims (David Noble - James Hallam)

Reproduced from The Caterer…

Businesses have been advised to seek advice if they think their insurance policy could cover the enforced closure caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Last week Financial Conduct Authority interim chief executive Christopher Woolard said its conversations with the industry had led it to estimate that most policies would include only basic business interruption cover that did not cover pandemics.

However, a number of businesses and industry bodies, including Brasserie Blanc and the Night Time Industries Association are pursuing action, believing that despite having claims turned down initially, they have a case against their providers, in particular Hiscox.

David Noble, director of hospitality and leisure at insurance brokers James Hallam, explained that insurers will not have intended to cover the current situation, but that the writing of some policies may produce circumstances where a claim can be pursued.

He explained: “It was not the intention of the insurance industry to cover the Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in the closure of the UK hospitality industry. Insurance companies had suffered large losses during the Sars outbreak, so policy wordings were written to try and limit insurers’ exposure to global pandemics. If they had priced for such an event, insurance premiums would not have been affordable.

“It was, though, insurers’ intention to cover, where purchased, business interruption losses for outbreaks of infectious diseases on the premises or in close proximity to the premises. The government making Covid-19 a notifiable infectious disease triggered this cover in some policies. However, there were very few reported losses of this nature because shortly after the government closed hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs.

“While this triggered possible claims in some policies that extend to cover ‘non-damage denial of access’ to premises following the ‘closure by a public authority’, most policies contain a version of a pandemic exclusion. The words differ from one insurer to another and, in some cases, from one wording to another with the same insurer. For example, an insurer might have a specialist scheme arrangement for a particular class of business.

“Some wordings suffer from poor draughtsmanship, so it can be argued that the [pandemic] exclusion is not obvious, and in some cases it has been missed out completely. In these circumstances, it will be difficult for insurers to repudiate claims, despite what some have been saying in the press.

“My advice is, in the first instance, speak to your insurance broker. They can advise you on what cover you have. If you are not satisfied, seek a legal opinion, but if that is not a viable financial option at the moment, speak to a loss assessor. The good ones will give you an honest opinion on your cover and only charge on success.”

James Hallam have engaged a law firm that specialise in insurance repudiations to check for evidence of poor draughtsmanship and for areas where policy words and phrases can be challenged. They will be contacting their clients when this review has been completed.

James Hallam are Commercial Partners to Pride of Britain Hotels.

If non-James Hallam clients would like to speak to them about their own situation David Noble would be happy to assist.

david.noble@jameshallam.co.uk (07818 036566)

Re-opening plan (by Howard Field - HOSPA)

Start now with your re-opening plan
2 hours ago 4 min read
Post-Covid-19 Hotel Re-Opening Planning – Start Now
An epidemic such as that we are now experiencing, requires that plans for re-opening
build in assumptions that can be reviewed as the situation becomes clearer.
Unlike having set target dates for opening a new hotel, based on construction and fitting
programmes that can be scheduled and tightly controlled, there are many external
factors will govern the timing and outcomes of the re-opening plan
Whether the hotel is owner operated, or is subject to the involvement of external
stakeholders, will also affect the complexity of re-opening planning and budgeting.
Decisions by Government and other external authorities will influence when various
elements of any plan for re-opening can be activated.
Transport availability will determine when guests, suppliers and employees can gain
access the property.
Whether all the businesses providing goods and services to the hotel remain able to
supply as required will determine whether alternative sources must be found. Suppliers
will be concerned with their own solvency and may demand pre-payment or fast
settlement to ensure continuity.
Organising bringing back staff who were laid off or furloughed, and recruiting and
inducting new staff will be major tasks. When government schemes to support the
retention of employees expire, the total costs of their pay will fall on the operator. This
could result in the enforced layoff of staff not required while business levels recover.
In addition, special care will need to be taken over the physical and mental health of
returning staff. They may need considerably more personal support while they re-adapt
to the working environment.
Ensuring all the assets are secure and in good order, and setting up the property,
equipment and M&E systems to be ready for operation, are essential before operations
can re-commence.
The many IT, communication, safety and security systems, have to be recommissioned .
This requires also checking that externally provided software and support services
remain available.
Sales, marketing and public relations activities are all essential parts of planning for reopening.
Re-connecting with all sources of business and re-establishing contacts with
agents and clients, including checking whether past contacts are still in place, will be of
prime importance.
Setting up reservation and revenue management systems, and populating them with
pre-existing data to enable preliminary forecasts to be made. Reinstating point of sale,
front and back office and all financial accounting and control systems needs to be
planned, allowing for staged practice and full operation.
Planning and practising to re-start all operational activities need to be phased
depending on the availability of safe access and readiness of the property and systems.
Careful financial planning will be necessary to ensure that adequate working capital is
available to support gearing up operations. Determining and costing staffing levels and
planning purchasing of supplies and services for the period before revenues are
generated and cash is received, are vital to ensure funds are available when required.
Reviewing all policies regarding deposits and prepayments during the initial period will
be important. Credit checking and history will no longer be reliable. This includes
payment terms with corporate clients, third parties, agents and others.
Equally, vendors to the hotel will also be concerned with their own solvency and may
demand pre-payment or fast settlement to ensure continuity of supply.
There will be challenges handling all of these elements, and as well unique
opportunities for management teams to re-think and implement creative and
productive improvements.
Hotels will need to demonstrate to guests and staff even more than in the past that they
provide physical comfort, security, clean and healthy environments, and they tick all of
the sustainability boxes in their styles of operation. These will be far more important
success factors in the future.
Re-Opening Plan Checklist
Key Questions to Answer:
Under whose control is the decision when to start re-opening ?
Who will authorise the programme and the key action steps ?
Who will have responsibility to coordinate and report on progress ?
How often will the plan be reviewed and updated?
Who will budget and control the costs ?
How will the re-opening budget be funded ?
Task List Content
Set a best outcome target date for the re-opening phases and base the planning
on this, subject to a regular update
Establish policies that will apply during the re-opening period, including credit
terms, purchasing and payment term, employee pay and benefits
Plan property preparation; re-commissioning of all building management systems;
restart contracts; reinstate security and CCTV systems; carry out health and vermin
checks
Check all physical assets; FF&E placement for re-starting operations
Programme systems re-start for all property management, HR, guest and POS,
hotel accounting, marketing and reporting systems
Plan re-opening staffing; re-commence recruitment; organise on-boarding of
furloughed and new employees
Schedule restarting of F&B purchasing and supply network
Programme all consumable supplies, utilities etc
Staged plan for operational re-opening for each department and outlet
Programme Marketing and P&R throughout and including the re-launch
Ensure external authorities advised as necessary; check licences, permits
Prepare a cash forecast for the period and a plan for provision of the required
working capital
Against each of the above, allocate responsibilities, and the minimum timing required.
There are many tools to aid project planning, most of which are based on the Gantt
model.

Insurance claims re coronavirus (from Elizabeth Payne)

Good Morning Peter

During the webinar this week with Kate Nicholls I registered a question which was discussed, and members were encouraged to feed any relevant further information to her to assist with lobbying The Treasury and Tourism. My question was:

“In light of business disruption is there likely to be any support from Insurance Companies paying compensation for loss of business?”

As we did not have a bolt on policy for pandemics, notifiable diseases of prevention of access we do not have any cover and an endorsement about Coronovirus has now been added.

I have challenged our Insurance provider (NFU) and they are now considering a reduction in our premium from a different angle which may be useful to other members:

I quote from our Insurers:

“Obviously in light of the current situation we fully understand the fact that you are unable to carry on with your usual business activities, and therefore have reduced exposure. In light of this I may be able to look at reducing some of the premium for you temporarily.
From an employers liability perspective can you advise if any of your employees are continuing to work, the percentage that are furloughed, the percentage that are working as normal and the percentage that are continuing to work but in a different capacity i.e. clerical working from home, food delivery etc

With regards to your public liability exposure can you confirm if you are continuing to operate at all, and if so provide details, such as information if you have diversified into other activities.

Regarding business interruption please confirm in the current policy year the percentage reduction in turnover you are expecting as a direct result of COVID-19 restrictions and how long you expect the reduction to apply for?”

I have submitted all relevant information and it has now been forwarded to the underwriters.
I will of course update you if we get a reduction but it may be worth other members considering this route if they are not successful with compensation for business loss.

Kind regards
Elizabeth

Elizabeth Payne
General Manager

Kilworth House

 

Footnote: In May 2020 EP told us that her premium had been reduced by £1k a month as a result of amendments to the employee and public liability cover whilst in lock down

Safety considerations during closure (prov. Craig Bancroft)

Clifton

Safety Considerations – Including During Full or Partial Closure – Covid-19.

Where sites are temporarily closing or are significantly changing the way that you do business, there are some risks that could manifest themselves, if not properly assessed and controlled.  We have created this guidance note to provide advice on some of the key areas.

Home Working & Managing Stress

As many offices are temporarily closing and employees are being asked to work from home you need to bear in mind that employers are required to protect the health, safety and welfare of all employees, including those who are working away from the office.

The British Safety Council is offering free online training courses for home workers as the businesses change their working habits to meet the threat of Coronavirus. As millions of workers set themselves up to work from home, they will be adjusting to a whole new way of working and preparing to miss the social contact of their workplace.

To support them the British Safety Council is offering courses for free until the middle of April.

  • Remote Workers’ Health Safety and Welfare
  • Mental Health: Start the Conversation are aimed at all employees.
  • Managing Stress Within Your Team – helpful to managers looking after teams working from different locations at a time of major worldwide crisis.

https://www.britsafe.org/about-us/useful-information-for-employers-and-employees-about-the-coronavirus/

Google has also launched a helpful Covid-19 Information and Resources page.

https://www.google.com/covid19/

Legionella

During the current coronavirus pandemic, focus has rightly been on the safety and wellbeing of staff members and the general public, regarding tackling the spread of the virus, and it becomes easy to lose focus on our general day to day priorities.  However, as our work practices, movements and behaviour changes this can have a significant impact on aspects of the safety of our properties and this includes the risk associated with legionella bacteria. Health & Safety Law continues to apply, and duty holders still maintain a legal obligation to protect those in and around their properties from exposure to legionella bacteria both now and in the future.

Legionella bacteria can grow and colonise water systems at temperatures between 20°C and 45°C, where a suitable nutrient source is available and where turnover of water is low.  As businesses increasingly move to a home-working model during the coronavirus pandemic the demand for water in many commercial buildings will be significantly reduced.  As demand is reduced the risk of low turnover and stagnation increases. With lower turnover we can also see increases in cold water temperatures as pipes warm to ambient levels. This risk can be further increased as the availability of maintenance staff and engineers is reduced through illness, isolation or travel restrictions.

Legionellosis (illness caused by legionella bacteria, including Legionnaires’ disease) is caused by inhalation of airborne water droplets containing high numbers of legionella bacteria. Those with a weakened immune system and other underlying illnesses hold a higher susceptibility to legionellosis. As the coronavirus pandemic escalates it is foreseeable that the number of individuals within society with a weakened immune system who are therefore susceptible to legionellosis will increase significantly.

Please see this excellent article on risk produced by water treatment specialists, WCS:

https://www.wcs-group.co.uk/wcs-blog/coronavirus-legionella-risk?success=true

Pool Water Plant

The government has instructed all leisure facilities to close, which means that where there is a swimming pool or spa, procedures relating to pool closures will need to be observed.  There are two options for temporary closure of the pool water treatment – reducing or stopping circulation.  The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG) has produced excellent technical guidance to assist you managing this process.  The PWTAG advises against emptying the pool to preserve its structural integrity, unless it is designed to be emptied on a regular basis and there are established procedures in place to achieve this safely.

You will also find guidance on Re-commissioning, where a risk assessment should review the potential for microbial growth during the shutdown period and the measures that need to be taken to minimize the risk of infections as a result of biofilm formation within the pool, system pipework and components.

Security

Some of the considerations that need to be made with regards to the security of the premises would include regular recorded site perimeter control with checks to ensure no combustible storage of materials around the outside of the building. Ensuring that all critical areas are monitored by CCTV, if available.  Door alarm monitoring, identification of key holders, notification to the Police of premises closure.  Maintaining illumination in critical areas – internally and externally.

Building Fire Systems

Reaction to the fast-spreading COVID19 virus is causing many businesses to close across the world. It’s important to remember that if you are leaving your building with no occupants or a limited staff for security, you should ensure all automatic protection is in place and that your response protocols match your changed occupancy. For example, you may normally plan on facility maintenance personnel to monitor fire alarm and automatic sprinkler and security systems.

Facilities Net have produced a  10-point Fire Safety guide which should be followed to ensure your systems are both operational to detect and suppress a fire, but also to avoid automatic sprinkler system freeze-up and subsequent flooding.

https://www.facilitiesnet.com/firesafety/article/Fire-Protection-Systems-10-Things-to-Check-When-Closing-Your-Facility—18856

 

 

 

Managing Check/In Out Processes

It is recommended that door access controls are maintained, and that access is limited to internal residents and guests with valid reservations only.

 

The 2-metre distancing guidance should be followed.  The attached poster can be printed and used to explain the rule is in place to support public health.  The poster advises to “please maintain a minimum distance of 2 metres/6 feet from others during your visit today.”

 

To assist all visitors the 2 metres distance from reception staff members can be indicated by suitable signage and adhesive tape line on the floor.

 

Guest should provide their ID and method of payment and remain behind the line indicating the 2-metre distance for their safety and that or front desk staff.  Adjoining check in desks should be located at least 2 metres apart.

 

Front desk staff should prepare a registration card and step way (2 metres) to allow the guest to sign in.

 

Guest to then step back behind the line for front desk staff to complete check in process and issue a room key.

 

Staff member to step away again for guest to collect their key.

 

Front desk staff should regularly wash their hands and should always do so if they have handled items presented by a guest during check in or any other interaction.

 

Luggage porters should deliver guest luggage outside of guest bedroom, they should knock and then step back 2 metres, wait for an answer before leaving the corridor.

 

Housekeeping and Cleaning

The Government have issued guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings, which should be followed by all accommodation providers.

Cleaning an area with normal disinfectant after someone with suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.

If an area can be kept closed and secure for 72 hours, wait until this time has passed for cleaning as the amount of virus living on surfaces will have reduced significantly by 72 hours.

Wherever possible, wear disposable or washing-up gloves and aprons for cleaning. These should be double-bagged, then stored securely for 72 hours then thrown away in the regular rubbish after cleaning is finished.

Using a disposable cloth, first clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then disinfect these surfaces with the cleaning products you normally use. Pay particular attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, such as bathrooms, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells and door handles.

If an area has been heavily contaminated, such as with visible bodily fluids, from a person with coronavirus (COVID-19), consider using protection for the eyes, mouth and nose, as well as wearing gloves and an apron.

Wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, and after removing gloves, aprons and other protection used while cleaning.

Experience of new coronaviruses (SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV) has been used to inform this guidance. The risk of infection depends on many factors, including:

  • the type of surfaces contaminated
  • the amount of virus shed from the individual
  • the time the individual spent in the setting
  • the time since the individual was last in the setting

The infection risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) following contamination of the environment decreases over time. It is not yet clear at what point there is no risk. However, studies of other viruses in the same family suggest that, in most circumstances, the risk is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

The minimum PPE to be worn for cleaning an area where a person with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) is disposable gloves and an apron. Hands should be washed with soap and water for 20 seconds after all PPE has been removed.

If a risk assessment of the setting indicates that a higher level of virus may be present (for example, where unwell individuals have slept such as a hotel room) or there is visible contamination with body fluids, then the need for additional PPE to protect the cleaner’s eyes, mouth and nose might be necessary. The local Public Health England (PHE) Health Protection Team (HPT) will advise on this in the event of confirmed cases.

Cleaning and disinfection

Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time, such as corridors, but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids can be cleaned thoroughly as normal.

All surfaces that the symptomatic person has come into contact with must be cleaned and disinfected, including:

  • objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids
  • all potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as bathrooms, door handles, telephones, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells
  • Use disposable cloths or paper roll and disposable mop heads, to clean all hard surfaces, floors, chairs, door handles and sanitary fittings, following one of the options below:
  • use either a combined detergent disinfectant solution at a dilution of 1,000 parts per million available chlorine

or a household detergent followed by disinfection (1000 ppm av.cl.). Follow manufacturer’s instructions for dilution, application and contact times for all detergents and disinfectants

or if an alternative disinfectant is used within the organisation, this should be checked and ensure that it is effective against enveloped viruses

Avoid creating splashes and spray when cleaning.

Any cloths and mop heads used must be disposed of and should be put into waste bags as outlined below.

When items cannot be cleaned using detergents or laundered, for example, upholstered furniture and mattresses, steam cleaning should be used.

Any items that are heavily contaminated with body fluids and cannot be cleaned by washing should be disposed of.

If possible, keep an area closed off and secure for 72 hours. After this time the amount of virus contamination will have decreased substantially, and you can clean as normal with your usual products.

Laundry

Wash items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest water setting and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an unwell person can be washed with other people’s items.

Do not shake dirty laundry, this minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.

Clean and disinfect anything used for transporting laundry with your usual products, in line with the cleaning guidance above.

Waste

Waste from possible cases and cleaning of areas where possible cases have been (including disposable cloths and tissues):

Should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full.

The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied.

It should be put in a suitable and secure place and marked for storage until the individual’s test results are known.

Waste should be stored safely and kept away from children. You should not put your waste in communal waste areas until negative test results are known or the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours.

If the individual tests negative, this can be put in with the normal waste

If the individual tests positive, then store it for at least 72 hours and put in with the normal waste

If storage for at least 72 hours is not appropriate, arrange for collection as a Category B infectious waste either by your local waste collection authority if they currently collect your waste or otherwise by a specialist clinical waste contractor. They will supply you with orange clinical waste bags for you to place your bags into so the waste can be sent for appropriate treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Safety

The Government has had to instruct food operations (e.g. restaurants, pubs, cafes etc. to close their premises for the time being.  Here are some key points to consider to ensure that your premises remain pest free during the closed period and remain in the best state to ensure that reopening is as problem free as possible.

  • Deep clean all areas of the kitchen, storage areas and equipment to ensure that it is clean and that there is no food debris remaining to reduce the risk of a pest infestation.
  • Cling wrap crockery, glassware if possible, cutlery trays and small equipment to protect it from dirt, dust or other contamination.
  • Make sure all perishable food is removed from site and all open packs of ambient goods are stored in lidded containers.
  • If freezing perishable foods (not previously frozen), fully label foods as per the shelf-life guidance.
  • Empty ice machines and leave doors open.
  • If turning off empty fridges/freezers, leave doors open.
  • Remove all rubbish from the site.
  • Document these actions in your closing checks or comments section in your food safety management system paperwork.

HACCP

If you have changed your business model to providing take-away or selling groceries your HACCP plan should reflect this.

For accommodation providers who need to provide either room service or pre-packed food offerings we have created the following SOP, which can be amended to suit your operation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Service of Ready Meals (Hot and Cold)

Food Safety Addendum – Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis

 

 

 

Introduction

 

We may be purchasing ready meals from approved suppliers during the Covid-19 crisis. These will be pre-prepared food dishes and food packs ready for immediate service (cold meals) or re-heating and service (hot meals).  To ensure the safety of our employees handling and serving food, our guests and the food served, the following standards must always be followed :

 

Methods of Food Handling

 

Staff will be involved in handling and serving food in the following ways:

 

  1. Food will be received pre-packed from the suppliers.
  2. Food will be stored in refrigerators or freezers.
  3. Food will be unpacked from the outer boxes
  4. Cold food items will be ready for immediate service.
  5. Hot food items will be re-heated in microwave or convection ovens (depending on the suppliers’ instructions).
  6. Food will be served pre-packed to guests.  This will be either in the main reception/lobby area from a take-away station or by way of room service delivery to the door of the room where the food will be left for collection by the guest.
  7. Food packaging and wate will be collected from the guest rooms or will be returned by the guest to the reception/lobby area.

 

Staff Protection

 

During the process of handling any food item scrupulous standards of personal hygiene must always be maintained .  Hand washing must be undertaken in accordance with the standard Coronavirus (Covid-19) procedures.

 

Staff must always ensure a 2-metre separation from the guests .  If significant numbers of guests attend the reception/lobby area at the same time the staff on duty should make the following announcement:

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, whilst we are serving your food it is essential for public health reasons and for your personal protection that we all maintain a minimum distance of 2 metres from one another.

Please note that this is to ensure your health, safety and welfare and for that of our staff.  Please do follow the Government guidance.  If you can approach in single file, that would be appreciated and allow us to provide your food safely and as quickly as possible.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

 

Staff should wear protective gloves when serving food.

 

Staff may wish to wear protective facemasks.  However these do not provide significant protection in a hotel environment and the most important controls

 

Before serving food, the following protocols should be followed, in strict order:

 

  1. Wash hands thoroughly, covering all parts of the hands, fingers, backs of the hands and wrists. Use warm water and soap.
  2. Dry hands thoroughly.
  3. Disinfect hands using hand sanitiser.
  4. If choosing to wear a mask, apply the mask, avoiding direct contact with the mouth and nose.
  5. Wash hands again thorough as above if a face mask has been used.
  6. Put on sterile gloves.

 

After serving food the following protocols should be followed, in strict order:

 

  1. Remove protective gloves and dispose of in a waste bin.
  2. Wash hands thoroughly as above.
  3. Remove face mask if one has been used. Dispose of in waste bin.
  4. Wash hands thoroughly.

 

Room Service Procedure

 

When delivering food to a guest room the employee should follow the procedure above for hand washing and use of personal protective equipment.

 

The food box, bag or try should be placed on the floor by the threshold to the room.

 

The employee should knock on the guest door or ring a bell, where provided.

 

The employee should immediately stand back from the door to ensure the 2-metre separation guidance is followed.

 

When the guest answers the door the employee is to indicate the food location and should then leave the guest to collect and take the food into their room.

 

Waste Procedure

 

If serving food in the reception/lobby area, then a waste bin with a bag liner should also be provided in the same area.  This should be foot operated to avoid the necessity to open the lid.  The bin lid and any other potential contact points should in any case be disinfected regularly (every 30 minutes minimum).

 

Guests should be advised that the bin is available for their use after their meal.

 

 

If collecting waste from guest rooms a wheelie bin can be used.  A bag liner is required. The bin should be taken to each room, the lid should be opened, the door knocked and the guest, on opening the door should be directed to place all waste into the bin.  The recommended 2 metre separation should always be maintained.

 

Food containers should not be accepted from guests by hand.  Guests should be directed towards the waste bin.

 

When full the bin bag liner should be tied, and the waste can be disposed of through the general waste stream.  Do not attempt to separate recyclable materials currently.

 

Before handing waste bags and bins, staff must follow the following procedure:

 

  1. Wash hands thoroughly, covering all parts of the hands, fingers, backs of the hands and wrists. Use warm water and soap.
  2. Dry hands thoroughly.
  3. Disinfect hands using hand sanitiser.
  4. If choosing to wear a mask, apply the mask, avoiding direct contact with the mouth and nose.
  5. Wash hands again thorough as above if a face mask has been used.
  6. Put on sterile gloves.

 

After handling the bag or bin the following protocols should be followed, in strict order:

 

  1. Remove protective gloves and dispose of in a waste bin.
  2. Wash hands thoroughly as above.
  3. Remove face mask if one has been used. Dispose of in waste bin.
  4. Wash hands thoroughly.

 

Temperature Control

 

Ready meals may be received frozen or chilled.  Ambient ready meals may also be provided.

 

Chilled ready meals must be received at or below 8°C. Frozen ready meals must be received at or below -18°C.  No exceptions are permitted and if chilled or frozen meals are outside these critical limits they must be rejected at the point of receipt.

 

Temperatures must be taken by using an infrared thermometer or between pack temperature.  Do not pierce the packaging and do not rely on the vehicle temperature print out.

 

Food Container

 

Food must be delivered in a sealed food grade container.  The cover must be sealed (e.g. thermaseal container with film lid, vacuum pack bag in outer etc.).  Delivery in catering containers with loose cover (e.g. foil, cling film) is not permitted and the product should be rejected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Condition

 

The food must be in accordance with the goods receipt standards, in addition to be at the correct temperature.  This means that the following standards must apply:

 

  • Food must be sealed
  • Packaging must be in good order without damage
  • Food must be labelled
  • Food packaging must be free from any contamination
  • There must be no evidence of pest infestation
  • Delivery vehicles must be dedicated to food only with no chemicals or other non-food products carried
  • Delivery vehicles must be clean
  • Delivery vehicles must be free from odours which could taint food

 

Labelling

 

The food must be correctly labelled.  This is pre-packed food and the following minimum labelling standards apply:

 

  1. Name of the food
  2. List of ingredients
  3. Ingredients or processing aids causing allergies or intolerances that are stated in the 14 Allergens (highlighted in the list of ingredients)
  4. Quantity of meat content
  5. Net quantity of the food
  6. Date of minimum durability or the ‘use by’ date
  7. Special storage conditions and/or conditions of use
  8. Name or business name and address of the food business operator (e.g. Madhu’s)
  9. Country of origin or place of provenance
  10. Instructions for use where it would be difficult to make appropriate use of the food in the absence of such instructions
  11. Nutritional declaration.

 

Energy efficiency savings (Powerful Allies)

Powerful Allies’ Energy monitoring and Energy budget forecasting proposal for POB members.

 

All Half-Hourly Electricity meters have a Meter Operator (MOp) plus a Data Collection and Data Aggregation (DCDA) provider. Powerful Allies seeks to ensure all clients have full access to their data, and they are willing to extend this service to POB members who are not currently clients. Powerful Allies has offered to provide this service without fee in support of POB members at this difficult time. Examples of reports are provided below.

 

The data is made available via a portal which contains many reports and alerts, and which can be set to email you with Exceptions in energy consumption. The data can also be used to validate energy savings achieved from initiatives and projects you may have undertaken, such as lighting, installing Solar Photovoltaic Panels, or simply switching equipment off at the end of the day or when not required.

 

Data Collector (DC) and what do they do?

Data collectors (DC) read meters and keep records of previous meter readings. They’re also responsible for doing visual safety checks of meters when they read them.

 

Some DCs’ make the energy data available to the end user (known as Data Aggregation – DA), this is an important tool in your energy efficiency strategy, often quoted is the saying “if you don’t measure something, you can’t manage it”, this is very true of your energy consumption.

 

Only when you can visualise your energy use, can you identify trends, such as irregular energy patterns, which may indicate opportunities to make quick wins in energy reductions.

Meter Asset Manager (MAM) and what do they do?

There is a very similar system in place for Gas Metering, although this is less well known. In-line with the Data Collector (above), the gas meter equivalent is known as the MAM (Meter Asset Manager).

They are responsible for ensuring the meters are safe, accurate and appropriately sealed, as with the electricity meters. The difference is you are probably unaware you can choose your MAM in much the same way as the Meter Operator and / or Data Collector, the main difference being you do not lease your gas meter or pay the fees directly to the MAM.

 

With appropriate access to cost and consumption data, Powerful Allies are able and willing to provide ongoing budget reporting for POB members, whilst assisting in a wide range of short- and long-term energy cost reduction strategies.

What Next?

In order for Powerful Allies to be able to make these services available to you, they require some basic information and a limited Letter of Authority, restricted for this purpose only. The LOA will provide only sufficient authority to enable us to get on with this work for you.

The benefits of good quality data collection and monitoring will allow you to manage and understand your energy use, provides accurate billing and forward budgets, and form a foundation for future energy and carbon reduction strategies.

Please contact James Robson at Powerful Allies on 07711 376244 or jamesrobson@powerfulallies.com.

You may like to have a look at their website also, to see their other clients in the sector and to read some of their client comments. www.powerfulallies.com.

Business interruption loans (Shaun & Jenny McKivragan)

Hi Peter

 

This may be of interest to you. It  is all in the detail and small print!

 

Jenny

 

  • Eligibility criteria is Strict
  • Clients must have a sound borrowing proposalbut insufficient security to meet the lender’s requirements
  • The CBILS scheme is only available to customers who can not access other funding due to a security shortfall
  • For limited companies, a personal guarantee will be taken from the full amount of the funding requested

 

https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/supporting-business-loans-enterprise-finance-guarantee/

#3 Job Retention Scheme Update (supplied by Rafi Bejerano)

Guidelines on Furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

 

Purpose

 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020.

 

Under the CJRS, our managed hotels will be able to access support to continue paying part of our Team Member’s salaries/wages for those that have been or will be put on lay off during this crisis. It applies to people who have been told to stop working completely, but who are being kept on the payroll.

 

The CJRS is to safeguard workers from being made redundant, having their probation failed or being placed on unpaid leave or lay off with no pay.

 

Contents

 

  1. General Principles
  2. Applying Furlough under the CJRS at M&T Managed Hotels
  3. Working whilst on furlough
  4. Contracted Team Members already on Lay Off
  5. Payroll Processing
  6. Zero Hours/ Casual Team Members
  7. Team Members who have left/ resigned of their own accord since 1st March 2020.
  8. Team Members who you have failed the probation of or terminated since 1st March because of the downturn.
  9. Team Members recruited/ or who have started work since 1st March 2020
  10. Team Members who are on sick leave.
  11. Length of furlough
  12. Team Members who have a second job.
  13. Team Members who do volunteer work or training
  14. If a Team Member is on Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave, Paternity Leave or Shared Parental Leave.
  15. National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage
  16. Responsibility
  17. Updates and further Information

 

  1. General Principles

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. It is expected that the scheme will be up and running by the end of April. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) such as hospitality.

Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage.

Employers can use the scheme anytime during this period.  The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020.

 

 

  1. Applying Furlough under the CJRS at M&T Managed Hotels

 

Furlough under the CJRS is for employers to instigate not employees, and is not in place to allow someone who there is work for to sit at home and take the 80% wage during the pandemic.

If the hotel has work for someone to do (e.g. they are on the caretaker team) but the Team Member does not want to come to work because they are genuinely concerned or anxious they should self-isolate and then be paid Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

As an alternative unpaid leave, paid holiday (allow minus lieu balances, accrued lieu time or lay off with no pay (as per the ‘choices’ letter they have already received) may be permitted.

It is a reasonable request for Team Members to be required to contribute (by attending the workplace if home working is not possible) with the continuity, safety and security of their employers business as long as it is safe for them to do so and they are capable of the work.  There are risk assessments in place detailing safe working practices, minimum staffing levels and social distancing procedures so the duty of care is met.

If you lay someone off at their own request as they don’t want to attend work the General Manager or Human Resources Manager must gently but clearly talk to the Team Member (face to face, by phone, SKYPE etc) to find out their reasons but ultimately to explain that under the circumstance they cannot be classified as furloughed – a note to be kept of that conversation.  As there was work for them to do then furlough does not apply.   (letter will be issued to use to follow up that conversation if needed)

  1. Working whilst on furlough

Team Members on furlough cannot do any work for their employer – you must be very careful with this rule.  HMRC have confirmed they reserve the right to audit retrospectively and will likely take a strong line with Companies who abuse the scheme.

‘Work’ includes answering work emails or taking work phone calls – except for regular business updates/ welfare calls or checks – as this is not doing work.  In fact, it is now our policy to have a method of communication set up for furloughed Team Members using MyEps bulletins or Workplace by Facebook etc.

The CJRS cannot be used to supplement the wages of a Team Member who is working either full contracted hours, is on short time or a reduced working week.  Best practice is to ensure those who are working get at least 80% of their hours and pay so that they are not worse off.

During and after the furlough period, if it anticipated or evident that someone cannot return to their duties – for instance, if we will continue to have no work for them, redundancy may be considered.

  1. Contracted Team Members already on Lay Off

Continue as per the guidelines already sent – with issuing and getting back the letters already distributed on 25th March 2020.  Once they have been signed and returned you can move people onto furlough as of the first day they had no work.

You should consider processing any accrued but untaken holiday or lieu time before placing someone on furlough.

  1. Payroll Processing

You will be provided with a method of calculating furlough pay for your Team Members.

Before next payroll cut off you will also be provided with instructions on how to process this thorough Eps (Eproductive are currently developing the most straight forward way of doing this) and if needed we will do webinars.

For full and part time Team Members, the grant will be based on their actual basic pay, before tax, paid in February.  Incentives, commission and bonuses are not included in the reference pay.

Once the calculations for each Team Member have been finalised there will be a letter issued to issue to each person on Furlough to tell them what pay to expect.

  1. Zero Hours/ Casual Team Members

You have already issued a letter to Zero Hours and Casual Team Members confirming that for the time being there is no work for them.

You will receive a further template letter to send to them to explain that they will be placed on furlough and paid as per the furlough rules for those on variable hours.

The reference amount for the 80% will be the higher of…

  • their average monthly pay for the 2019/20 tax year;

or

  • the pay from the same month in the prior year.

For those who joined less than 12 months ago it will be the average for the number of months they have been on the payroll.

You will be sent a calculator to work out what to pay each Zero Hour/Casual Team Member but in the meantime you may want to start pulling out earnings on April 2020 payslips and also the earnings for 2019/20 tax year (will be on March payslips and/or P60’s if they arrive in time).

If you have not already done so best practice is to pay out any accrued but untaken holiday for Zero Hours/Casual Team Members.

  1. Team Members who have left/ resigned of their own accord since 1st March 2020.

If you have a Team Member who has already left (or is due to leave but already been fully processed as a leaver through Epaysafe) since 1st March but requests to reverse their decision due to the job they were going to being delayed or the offer retracted.  You cannot decide to take them back onto the payroll as they will not qualify for furlough pay and there will be an audit trail should the HMRC audit.

If someone has resigned and not yet been processed you must not let them retract their notice as you would have the discretion to under normal circumstances.  They would likely just resign again once the scheme ends or the downturn ends.  Although someone on furlough is no cost to payroll they would still accrue holiday (a full timer would earn around 7 days holiday pay in 13 weeks) so are still a cost to the business.  In this circumstance should you feel an exception is required you may discuss this with the Head of Human Resources but it is extremely unlikely that a different answer will be given due to the need for consistency and avoiding the possibility of claims of discrimination.

  1. Team Members who you have failed the probation of or terminated since 1st March because of the downturn.

You may reverse your decision (if they also agree) and place them on furlough.  Be consistent in your approach and only take that decision if you believe they have a place on your team/you will have work for them when the downturn starts to reverse.

If the probation failure or termination was for a reason not connected with the downturn in business this decision must stand as you would not be able to claim under the CJRS.

Reasons for reversing the decision must be documented and kept on the personnel file.

 

 

  1. Team Members recruited/ or who have started work since 1st March 2020

People hired (already started or due to start) after 28 February 2020 cannot be furloughed or claimed for in accordance with the CJRS.

You can place them onto unpaid lay off and retain them on your payroll or offer work if it is available.

  1. Team Members who are on sick leave.

Team Members on sick leave or self-isolating will get Statutory Sick Pay, but can be furloughed after this.

Team Members who are off sick who would qualify for Company Sick Pay in addition to SSP you should follow your normal rules for.  Team Members only qualify for CSP when someone is actually unwell and follows absence reporting procedures, otherwise SSP is payable.

Team Members who are shielding in line with public health guidance can be placed on furlough.

  1. Length of furlough

Furlough is for a minimum of three weeks.  Furlough can be more than once in the 3-month CJRS period.  People can be brought back from furlough (once they have been off a minimum of 3 weeks) then placed back on furlough again (as long as that period of furlough lasts at least 3 weeks).

This will enable rotation of work amongst all or part of a team or where Team Members wish to rotate the work available.  It would also allow for rotation of key Team Members to ensure that the maximum engagement with the business is maintained.  Every effort must be made to ensure a fair and consistent approach at all times.

Team Members can also be moved on and off furlough (provided the furlough is at least 3 weeks) to allow them to take paid holiday – this should be encouraged/enforced as it would be detrimental to the business to reach the end of the scheme and have everyone with excessive untaken balances as you start to reopen the hotels.

If you bring people back (by mistake or deliberately because of business requirements) before 3 weeks have elapsed the time they have already had off would be a cost to the business as you would not be able to claim under the CJRS.  If there is extra work it would be better to offer more hours (paid) to Team Members not on furlough until those that could be brought back off of furlough have been off for 3 weeks.

If you bring someone back from furlough it is not clear how long this has to be for before you could place on furlough again.  So for the meantime make it one week minimum.

  1. Team Members who have a second job.

If a Team Member has a second (or third etc.) job they can be furloughed for each job. Each job is separate, and the cap applies to each employer individually.

  1. Team Members who do volunteer work or training

A furloughed Team Member can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your hotel.

You can require Team Members to complete training, for example, complete online training courses such as FLOW whilst they are furloughed.  If they do this they must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.  You can see on FLOW how long a course takes to complete.

For reference:

  • A Team Member on Minimum Wage of £8.73 (as at 1st April) who is on furlough but completes training would need to be topped up by £1.75 per hour for every hour spent training.
  • Anyone on over £10.92 per hours would not need to have a top up if they do training.
  • Anyone on between £8.73 and £10.91 please let me know if you require help with calculations.

This could be a great opportunity for getting E Learning up to date for when the hotel reopens.

  1. If a Team Member is on Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave, Paternity Leave or Shared Parental Pay.

Team Members who are on (or are due to) take Maternity Leave must take at least 2 weeks off work immediately following the birth of their baby. This is a health and safety requirement. In practice, most women start their Maternity Leave before they give birth but it must start the date they give birth at the latest.

If a Team Member is eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance, the normal rules apply, and they are entitled to claim up to 39 weeks of statutory pay or allowance.

Team Members who qualify for SMP, will still be eligible for 90% of their average weekly earnings in the first 6 weeks, followed by 33 weeks of pay paid at 90% of their average weekly earnings or the statutory flat rate (whichever is lower). The statutory flat rate is currently £148.68 a week, rising to £151.20 a week from April 2020.

The same principles apply where the Team Member qualifies for contractual adoption, paternity or shared parental pay.

  1. National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage

Individuals are only entitled to the National Living Wage (NLW)/National Minimum Wage (NMW) for the hours they are working.

Therefore, furloughed Team Members, who are not working, must be paid the lower of 80% of their salary, or £2,500 even if, based on their usual working hours, this would be below NLW/NMW.

  1. Responsibility

 

It is the responsibility of the General Manager to ensure that this policy is applied fairly and consistently in their hotel.

 

In the case of any ambiguity or query this will be investigated but the decision of the Company remains final in any outcome.

 

The Company reserves the right to amend or withdraw this policy at any time without notice or compensation.

 

  1. Updates and further Information

 

Please be aware that information coming out of Government is fast moving and therefore updated on a regular basis. This version of the guidelines are specific to M&T and based on the latest information released by the Government. As there are still a number of areas which need clarification, you will appreciate there may be certain questions that we are unable to answer, however; the guidelines will be updated as soon as they are released.

 

The Company will review policies and procedures periodically to reflect changes in government guidelines, legislation and good practice.

 

Issue Date: 27th March 2020

#2 Job Retention Scheme Update (supplied by Rafi Bejerano)

 

Guidance for employers on the coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme.

 

Published 26 March 2020

From:

HM Revenue & Customs

Contents

Who can claim

Employees you can claim for

Work out what you can claim

What you’ll need to make a claim

Claim

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. We expect the scheme to be up and running by the end of April. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.

 

The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020.

 

Who can claim

Any UK organisation with employees can apply, including:

 

businesses

charities

recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE)

public authorities

You must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020 and have a UK bank account.

 

Where a company is being taken under the management of an administrator, the administrator will be able to access the Job Retention Scheme.

 

Public sector organisations

The government expects that the scheme will not be used by many public sector organisations, as the majority of public sector employees are continuing to provide essential public services or contribute to the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, we expect employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion – and correspondingly not furlough them. This also applies to non-public sector employers who receive public funding for staff costs.

 

Organisations who are receiving public funding specifically to provide services necessary to respond to COVID-19 are not expected to furlough staff.

 

In a small number of cases, for example where organisations are not primarily funded by the government and whose staff cannot be redeployed to assist with the coronavirus response, the scheme may be appropriate for some staff.

 

Employees you can claim for

Furloughed employees must have been on your PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020, and can be on any type of contract, including:

 

full-time employees

part-time employees

employees on agency contracts

employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts

The scheme also covers employees who were made redundant since 28 February 2020, if they are rehired by their employer.

 

To be eligible for the subsidy, when on furlough, an employee can not undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation. This includes providing services or generating revenue. While on furlough, the employee’s wage will be subject to usual income tax and other deductions.

 

This scheme is only for employees on agency contracts who are not working.

 

If an employee is working, but on reduced hours, or for reduced pay, they will not be eligible for this scheme and you will have to continue paying the employee through your payroll and pay their salary subject to the terms of the employment contract you agreed.

 

Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. When employers are making decisions in relation to the process, including deciding who to offer furlough to, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.

 

To be eligible for the subsidy employers should write to their employee confirming that they have been furloughed and keep a record of this communication.

 

Employees hired after 28 February 2020 cannot be furloughed or claimed for in accordance with this scheme.

 

You do not need to place all your employees on furlough. However, those employees who you do place on furlough cannot undertake work for you.

 

If your employee is on unpaid leave

Employees on unpaid leave cannot be furloughed, unless they were placed on unpaid leave after 28 February.

 

If your employee is on Statutory Sick Pay

Employees on sick leave or self-isolating should get Statutory Sick Pay, but can be furloughed after this.

 

Employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance can be placed on furlough.

 

If your employee has more than one job

If your employee has more than one employer they can be furloughed for each job. Each job is separate, and the cap applies to each employer individually.

 

If your employee does volunteer work or training

A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation.

 

However, if workers are required to for example, complete online training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least the NLW/NMW for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.

 

If your employee is on Maternity Leave, contractual adoption pay, paternity pay or shared parental pay

Individuals who are on or plan to take Maternity Leave must take at least 2 weeks off work (4 weeks if they work in a factory or workshop) immediately following the birth of their baby. This is a health and safety requirement. In practice, most women start their Maternity Leave before they give birth.

 

If your employee is eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance, the normal rules apply, and they are entitled to claim up to 39 weeks of statutory pay or allowance.

 

Employees who qualify for SMP, will still be eligible for 90% of their average weekly earnings in the first 6 weeks, followed by 33 weeks of pay paid at 90% of their average weekly earnings or the statutory flat rate (whichever is lower). The statutory flat rate is currently £148.68 a week, rising to £151.20 a week from April 2020.

 

If you offer enhanced (earnings related) contractual pay to women on Maternity Leave, this is included as wage costs that you can claim through the scheme.

 

The same principles apply where your employee qualifies for contractual adoption, paternity or shared parental pay.

 

Work out what you can claim

Employers need to make a claim for wage costs through this scheme.

 

You will receive a grant from HMRC to cover the lower of 80% of an employee’s regular wage or £2,500 per month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage. Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included.

 

At a minimum, employers must pay their employee the lower of 80% of their regular wage or £2,500 per month. An employer can also choose to top up an employee’s salary beyond this but is not obliged to under this scheme.

 

We will issue more guidance on how employers should calculate their claims for Employer National Insurance Contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions, before the scheme becomes live.

 

Full time and part time employees

For full time and part time salaried employees, the employee’s actual salary before tax, as of 28 February should be used to calculate the 80%. Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included.

 

Employees whose pay varies

If the employee has been employed (or engaged by an employment business) for a full twelve months prior to the claim, you can claim for the higher of either:

 

the same month’s earning from the previous year

average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 tax year

If the employee has been employed for less than a year, you can claim for an average of their monthly earnings since they started work.

 

If the employee only started in February 2020, use a pro-rata for their earnings so far to claim.

 

Once you’ve worked out how much of an employee’s salary you can claim for, you must then work out the amount of Employer National Insurance Contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions you are entitled to claim.

 

Employer National Insurance and Pension Contributions

All employers remain liable for associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on behalf of their furloughed employees.

 

You can claim a grant from HMRC to cover wages for a furloughed employee, equal to the lower of 80% of an employee’s regular salary or £2,500 per month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on paying those wages.

 

You can choose to provide top-up salary in addition to the grant. Employer National Insurance Contributions and automatic enrolment contribution on any additional top-up salary will not be funded through this scheme. Nor will any voluntary automatic enrolment contributions above the minimum mandatory employer contribution of 3% of income above the lower limit of qualifying earnings (which is £512 per month until 5th April and will be £520 per month from 6th April 2020 onwards).

 

National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage

Individuals are only entitled to the National Living Wage (NLW)/National Minimum Wage (NMW) for the hours they are working.

 

Therefore, furloughed workers, who are not working, must be paid the lower of 80% of their salary, or £2,500 even if, based on their usual working hours, this would be below NLW/NMW.

 

However, if workers are required to for example, complete online training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least the NLW/NMW for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.

 

What you’ll need to make a claim

Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. Employers may need to seek legal advice on the process. If sufficient numbers of staff are involved, it may be necessary to engage collective consultation processes to procure agreement to changes to terms of employment.

 

To claim, you will need:

 

your ePAYE reference number

the number of employees being furloughed

the claim period (start and end date)

amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 weeks)

your bank account number and sort code

your contact name

your phone number

You will need to calculate the amount you are claiming. HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim.

 

Claim

You can only submit one claim at least every 3 weeks, which is the minimum length an employee can be furloughed for. Claims can be backdated until the 1 March if applicable.

 

What to do after you’ve claimed

Once HMRC have received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, they will pay it via BACS payment to a UK bank account.

 

You should make your claim in accordance with actual payroll amounts at the point at which you run your payroll or in advance of an imminent payroll.

 

You must pay the employee all the grant you receive for their gross pay, no fees can be charged from the money that is granted. You can choose to top up the employee’s salary, but you do not have to.

 

 

When the government ends the scheme

When the government ends the scheme, you must make a decision, depending on your circumstances, as to whether employees can return to their duties. If not, it may be necessary to consider termination of employment (redundancy).

 

Employees that have been furloughed

Employees that have been furloughed have the same rights as they did previously. That includes Statutory Sick Pay entitlement, maternity rights, other parental rights, rights against unfair dismissal and to redundancy payments.

 

Once the scheme has been closed by the government, HMRC will continue to process remaining claims before terminating the scheme.

 

Income tax and Employee National Insurance

Wages of furloughed employees will be subject to Income Tax and National Insurance as usual. Employees will also pay automatic enrolment contributions on qualifying earnings, unless they have chosen to opt-out or to cease saving into a workplace pension scheme.

 

Employers will be liable to pay Employer National Insurance contributions on wages paid, as well as automatic enrolment contributions on qualifying earnings unless an employee has opted out or has ceased saving into a workplace pension scheme.

 

Tax Treatment of the Coronavirus Job Retention Grant

Payments received by a business under the scheme are made to offset these deductible revenue costs. They must therefore be included as income in the business’s calculation of its taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes, in accordance with normal principles.

 

Businesses can deduct employment costs as normal when calculating taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes.

 

Published 26 March 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Update (prov: Neil Kedward)

27th March 2020

The Government has today published the first formal details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which should now enable employers to make informed and rapid decisions about furloughing their workers.

The full details are here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

There are two unanswered points in the latest guidance – date scheme will open and date of first payment but this is anticipated to be 22 April, and accrual of holiday during the furlough period (assumed to be determined by employer as at or above the minimum). It is clear that further guidance will be forthcoming and that this will be supplemented, so some unanswered questions remain.

The key points are:

  • Open to all UK employers of whatever size, provided the company and payroll was in existing on 28 February 2020
  • Furloughed employees must have been hired or contracted by this date
  • Furloughed workers can include full, part time, agency and flexible or zero hours contracts
  • You can use the scheme at any point during the initial 3 month period (note it may be longer) – this means you can make a decision about furloughing some people now and add others to furlough as circumstances change

Who is covered

  • The scheme is only for employees who are not working –  if the employee is working on reduced hours or reduced pay, they are not eligible and will need to be employed normally. Employees with more than one job can be furloughed for each job and the cap applies to each employer.
  • Employees can take part in volunteer work or training, providing this does not provide services to the company or generate revenue – so if individuals want to undertake on line training or complete apprenticeship training in their own time, but if they are required to do so then you must make sure that they are paid at least NMW/NLW for the time spent in training even if this is more than 80% of salary
  • Employees on unpaid leave cannot be furloughed unless they were placed on unpaid leave after 28 February
  • If workers were made redundant since 28 February 2020, they can be rehired and furloughed

Process

  • You should discuss with your staff about placing them on furlough. This will include making changes to their employement contract by agreement if necessary and where the contract does not provide for furlough. You should record your decisions about who to offer furlough to and write formally to your employees to confirm.
  • There are no set consultation timescales and processes, but where sufficient numbers are involved, you may need to engage collective consultation process to secure changes in contracts. The anticipation is that this will be capable of being concluded swiftly, however, you will need to demonstrate that in taking a decision to furlough you have followed equality and discrimination laws.
  • You will be able to submit 1 claim at least every 3 weeks, which is the minimum length and employee can be furloughed for. You should make your claim in accordance with actual payroll amounts at the point at which you run the payroll or in advance of an imminent payroll and you must pay the employee all of the grant you receive for their gross pay.
  • Where a company is operating under administration, the administrator will be able to access the scheme

Work out what to claim

You will make a claim for wage costs through an online portal and receive a grant from HMRC to recover 80% usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus Employer NIC and minimum pension contribution

  • Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included (we are checking re tronc)
  • An employer can choose to top this up but is not obliged to. If you do top up, you are liable for the employer NIC and pension on the top up element.
  • For full and part time salaried employees, you use the actual salary before tax as of 28 Feb
  • For variable hourly paid staff, you can use either the same month’s earnings from the previous year or average monthly earnings from the 2019/20 tax year, whichever is higher If the employee has been employed for less than 12 months you can claim an average of their monthly earnings since they started. If an employee only started in February 2020 , use a pro rata of earnings to date.
  • More guidance will be issued in due course about how to calculate claims for employer NIC and pension contributions before the scheme goes live.