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Thursday, November 12, 2020
Following the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (referred to as furlough) at the start of COVID-19 back in March 2020, the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and Unite the Union (Unite), as joint party signatories to the HVAC Operative National Agreement, agreed that:
a) for a temporary period, BESA employers who use the HVAC/BESA National Agreement and their employees may agree alternative arrangements in line with the CJRS (either full-time or flexible furlough);
b) in order to implement (a) above, the 37.5 hour guaranteed week of the National Agreement (Clause 5) would be temporarily relaxed for the duration of the CJRS to support the interests and wellbeing of all those BESA employers who use the Agreement, and their employees, during the unprecedented and challenging times caused by the going COVID-19 health crisis;
c) the parties would keep the position under review and publish updated information, together with any industry good practice guidance.
The CJRS scheme was due to end on 31 October but has been extended to 31 March 2021 following an announcement on 5 November by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak.
Pending further HMRC guidance on the detailed operation of the extended CJRS arrangements, BESA and Unite have agreed that the temporary arrangements outlined at (a)-(c) above should continue for the duration of the scheme.
As previously, BESA will continue to publish updated information as this becomes available. Meanwhile, employers who are contemplating taking part in the CJRS (which is now open to those who may not have been eligible under the original scheme) are encouraged to discuss arrangements with affected employees in good time.
IAN WOODLAND, Unite National Officer for Construction and Local Authorities
PAULA SAMUELS, BESA Head of Employment Affairs
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