An expert employment lawyer has warned that Dorset businesses need to make ‘tough and quick’ decisions in reaction to the second coronavirus lockdown.

Kate Brooks, a partner and head of employment/HR services at county law firm Ellis Jones Solicitors, urged employers to consider their options as soon as possible.

The second national lockdown is due to begin tomorrow with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) extended to support businesses.

Ms Brooks, said: “These are difficult times for businesses. They have some quick and tough decisions to make in a very short space of time."

Under the extension of the CJRS scheme, employers will again be able to claim up to 80% (or £2,500) for each employee for the hours not worked.

Other key points include:

*Neither the employee nor the employer needs to have previously used the furlough scheme

*The employer will be able to bring employees back flexibly

*Employers will be responsible for covering tax, NI and contributions

*Publicly funded organisations are not able to use the scheme; partially funded organisations may be able to

*All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE scheme will be eligible

*Employees must have been on the PAYE payroll by 23.59 on October 31, 2020