An Americanism I first came across in the 1988 US Presidential election with the controversy of the furlough of Willie Horton from a Massachusetts prison, “furlough” is very much the new mot du jour.
Dilyn: an apology
In an otherwise excellent section on who might be the Downing St superspreader, I inexplicably spelt the name of the Number 10 dog incorrectly on two separate occasions. So I would like to formally apologise to Dilyn. I have let you down. I have let the membership down. But most importantly I have let myself down. Not that it is any mitigation, but I fear the lapse was caused by an onset of Teamentia (also known as Zoomania). A complete dulling of the brain brought on by 37 hours of continuous video conferencing. Some of you may be familiar.
Attached is a statement put out by European Social Partners in the Banking and Insurance sector. BIPAR is a member of this collective and thus, one step removed, so is LIIBA. A good reiteration of the fact that, as an industry, we are here doing our bit to help manage this crisis. And don’t be fooled by the file name. This is a European thing not a specifically EU one. So we still qualify. I think.
Also attached are some slides from Morgan Lewis on the various HR challenges thrown up by the current circumstances and details of the various government assistance packages that you might qualify for. This includes the job retention scheme which HMRC has put out the following guidance on (with multiple use of the new “F word”)
In terms of headlines, please note the following points:
- Furloughed employees must be furloughed for a minimum period of 3 weeks;
- An employer can claim a grant for each furloughed employee of up to 80% of an employee’s regular wage (capped at £2,500) as well as employer national insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment obligations (please note that bonuses, commission and fees are not included as part of the calculation of regular wages);
- Furloughed employees cannot undertake any work for the employer claiming the grant while those employees are on furlough leave;
- Employees can only be furloughed if they are on an employer’s PAYE payroll as at 28 February 2020; and
- An employer can only submit one claim for grants at least every 3 weeks (although claims can be backdated until 1 March if applicable).
The states we are in
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) has passed Congress and been signed by the President. It provides, amongst other things, relief from debts for US corporations. My understanding is that the intent is that insurance premiums will count as a form of debt for these purposes, but there is currently conflicting language in a very hurried piece of legislation. But fear not, the brave people of CIAB in Washington are working hard to resolve this (and also now getting these emails so it is important to butter them up).
As of Friday there were 29 states that had taken some sort of position on premium moratoriums. We anticipate some guidance from Lloyd’s to coverholders around this this week.
There is also talk in Congress of a Pandemic Risk insurance Act – similar to TRIA – to create a private/public collaboration to pool funds to cover risks if the virus has a resurgence in the autumn.
And that will do for today. I am off to a party with Jack Grealish.