A number of Employers will have been recruiting or will have recently agreed contracts with new starts.
As we know, most recruitment projects have been postponed until the Autumn (or the next earliest opportunity) as travel has been vastly restricted, the ability to complete any interviews face-to-face has been removed (unless you're open to video conferencing) and it would prove extremely difficult to agree new contracts during this time due to uncertainty.
However, what about those Employers who have already agreed new starts? New Employees that were due to start working for you soon and have already resigned from their previous Employer - what can we do about them?
Having faced this question this week, in our opinion there is one route that presents itself as clearer than any other.
It is likely you will need to defer the new Employees employment commencement date, which you should do by letter.
This does leave the new Employee in a horrible position, where they're not receiving any payments nor do they have much job security - even if you did start the Employee on the agreed date, they wouldn't be eligible for SSP or any real protections with you, nor would you be able to provide any job training so they'd be left out to dry somewhat.
The best idea, in our opinion, would be to have a transparent discussion with the Employee, recommending that they go back to their previous Employer and ask them to keep them on the books (extend their notice period) until your new commencement date. With the "80% Scheme" the ex-Employer will be able to pay the Employee without any skin off of their nose, and you've protected your new Employee until you're able to withstand having a new start on the books.
Similarly, for any Employee who has lost their job due to this pandemic, we highly recommend going back to your ex-Employer and asking for your job back. With the "80% Scheme" they would be able to pay you and when business gets back to normal, hopefully they'll still need you on staff so will keep you on your original employment contract.
To help convince them, show them the HMRC's current guidance, which we know will be retrospective, covering March salaries as well.