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21 Mar 2020 - News

Covid-19 update — Keeping you employed

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Yesterday [20.03.2020], the government announced a further range of measures to help businesses fight the corona virus. One of the most welcome announcements was the offer of the government to pay 80% of staff wages. The overall aim is to keep as many people employed as possible until we come out the other side of this difficult time.

At this stage we don’t really have enough information on how this may work in practice as there is no mechanism in place to reimburse the employers, but we are assured this will be set up as soon as possible. In the meantime, it is hoped that the trainers who have already dismissed staff may now take the opportunity to “furlough” those employees and place the other employees they may have had to lay off on a “furlough” status.

The term “furlough” is from U.S employment law and is generally defined as placing an employee on “nonduty” and non-pay due to a lack of work. However, if the government is as good as its word then they will step in and cover 80% of the staff’s wage which would be capped at £2,500 per month.

NARS will now be looking at the detail and advising our members accordingly. Some of the most obvious questions are as follows;

  1. If the government pays 80% of the wage to an employee, does the employer have to make up the other 20%?
  2. If an employee has already been laid off/dismissed will this be back dated?
  3. When will the 80% get to the employer and how?
  4. Could the employer pay just 20% of a wage until they get the other 80%?
  5. Would this apply if you were dismissed for reasons other than the economic impact of the corona virus?

We are working on the answers for you.

Moving away from the possibility of getting at least 80% of your wage covered by the government and therefore retaining employment, the next biggest concern we have is the ability to continue exercising the horses. We are working under the definition of essential activity and as long as the government don’t state otherwise, we still be in a position to resume racing at the earliest opportunity.

The NARS office remains open, and is being staffed by George McGrath this weekend in order to field calls to the office number. There is a call forwarding option when the office is unmanned. Please be patient, we will get to every call, email and social media question but this will take some time as we are rather busy currently.

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