HMRC Guidance: Extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
On 10 November, HMRC published updated guidance on the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The CJRS, which was originally due to close on 31 October, has been extended to 31 March 2021. For the period 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021, the Government will pay 80% of wages for hours not worked up to £2,500 per month. The scheme will be reviewed in January 2021 to decide whether employers will be required to make a contribution thereafter.
The updated guidance comprises several documents, including: -
‘Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’;
‘Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ and
‘Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’.
Among other things, the guidance confirms that: -
the extended scheme is open for employees who were employed on 30 October 2020, as well as employees who were made redundant or stopped working on or after 23 September 2020 if they are then rehired;
that employers do not need to have previously claimed for an employee before 30 October 2020 to claim for periods from 1 November 2020;
that employers can furlough employees for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked;
that employers can continue to claim for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020 until the deadline on 30 November 2020; and
that there is no maximum number of employees that an employer can claim for from 1 November 2020.
Notably, the ‘Check which employees you can put on furlough’ guidance indicates that the Government is reviewing whether employers should be able to claim for employees serving contractual or statutory notice periods and will change the approach for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, with further guidance to be published in late November. Put another way, if an employer is considering dismissals and wishes to reclaim notice pay under the CJRS, then notice should be served before 1 December. Employers must confirm in writing to their staff that they have been furloughed. This may simply be an extension to the original agreement or a fresh agreement for those not furloughed before, and employers are required to keep a written record of this for 5 years. It's fine to retrospectively furlough employees from 1 November providing the agreement to do so is done before this Friday, 13 November. You can read the full guidance: - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme