Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Update
Further to our article earlier in the month which you can read here, a number of changes have been made to the scheme. The following are key updates:
- The Coronavirus Virus Job Retention scheme portal is now open. The portal is the mechanism via which employers can reclaim up to 80% of a furloughed employee’s salary from HMRC. The portal can be accessed via the government gateway. Reports state that the portal is simple to use, although there are reports of it crashing for some users and the system not allowing overlapping furlough periods where staff have not been furloughed on the same day or for the same period. We imagine there will be other kinks in the system that will become apparent as more employers use it.
- The qualifying date, when the employee has to have been on the employer’s payroll, has changed from 28 February to 19 March 2020. This is with the proviso that the employer had submitted real time information payroll data by that date. This is welcome news as it brings into scope a large number of people who fell outside the scheme because they had recently changed jobs.
- The scheme has been extended from 31 May 2020 to the end of June.
- The scheme is not limited to those employees who would otherwise be made redundant. The scheme applies to any who are furloughed as a result of coronavirus.
- It is possible to take annual leave whilst on furlough. HMRC have clarified the position around annual leave and have confirmed that the employer will have to top up the sum to be 100% of normal pay, although some contradictions to remain and the guidance states that the policy will be kept under review. Please click here for the most recent version of the Employees’ Guidance.
- HMRC has updated its Statutory Payments Manual to state those on furlough are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). If employers keep the sick furloughed employee on the furloughed rate, they remain eligible to claim for these costs through the furloughed scheme.
- The employer and employee must agree in writing (which may be in an electronic form such as an email) that the employee will cease all work in relation to their employment. Previous guidance suggested that employers only needed to inform the employee in writing of the decision to furlough and keep a written record for 5 years.
We will continue to provide updates as the scheme takes shape, however if you need any advice in the interim please contact me directly.
Share this article