All your COVID-19 essential updates in one place here – let’s get you back to business
Please Note: All information correct at time of writing on 15 April 2020. We do our very best to make sure our information is as up to date as possible, but we’d encourage you to check out our latest articles and to check the government website for updates as they happen.
The Treasury issued a direction today under the Coronavirus Act 2020, requiring HMRC to be responsible for the payment and management of amounts to be paid under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The Direction attaches a Schedule setting out further details of the scheme and the CJRS Employers’ guide has been updated to take into account some (but not all) of the matters covered in the Schedule.
We’ve summarised the main points from the direction below.
Although the Schedule to the Direction, repeatedly refers to ‘reimbursement’ of wage costs, it does state that these are costs which have been “incurred or to be incurred” and therefore the fact that payment has not been made does not seem to be a bar to making a claim.
The definition given in the scheme of a furloughed employee is one where:
If an employer has more than one qualifying PAYE scheme:
The guidance continues to state: “If, however, employers want to furlough employees for business reasons and they are currently off sick, they are eligible to do so, as with other employees. In these cases, the employee should no longer receive sick pay and would be classified as a furloughed employee”. The Treasury’s Schedule says where SSP is payable or liable to be payable (regardless of whether a claim for SSP is made) at the time the employee is put on furlough, the minimum three-week period does not begin until the original SSP has ended. It is unclear as to whether this limits the extent to which employers can move employees on SSP to furlough while there is a current fit note in place (which would make SSP payable). Presumably, when this comes to an end, they could then be put on furlough. The Schedule goes on to say that if the employee becomes unfit to work later and therefore a subsequent entitlement to SSP arises, this can be disregarded if the employee is on furlough.
If an employee started unpaid leave after 28 February 2020, you can put them on furlough instead. If an employee went on unpaid leave on or before 28 February, you cannot furlough them until the date on which it was agreed they would return from unpaid leave.
The employer’s guidance has been changed to reflect the fact that the employer must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020 (previously 28 February).
In the biggest change, the cut off point for employing eligible employees has been changed from 28 February to cover employees who were:
Employees who were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on aReal Time Information submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after 28 February and before 19 March , can also be furloughed if the employer chooses to re-employ them and put them on furlough. This will be the case even if the employer chooses to re-employ after 19 March.
The up to date list of information needed to make a claim is:
If you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff you will be asked to enter details of each employee you are claiming for directly into the system – this will include their name, National Insurance number, claim period and claim amount, and payroll/employee number (optional).
If you have 100 or more furloughed staff, you will be asked to upload a file with the information rather than input it directly into the system. We will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods
The file should include the following information for each furloughed employee: name, National Insurance number, claim period and claim amount, payroll/employee number (optional).
Employers should retain all records and calculations in respect of their claims (presumably for five years).
These are uncertain times, especially for employers and business owners. Our HR and Employment Law experts are tracking the news and latest government updates to help you understand what’s available to you to keep your business running throughout the coming weeks of changes.
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