CJRS: Government guidance
On 10 November, the government published its guidance on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘CJRS’), commonly known as the furlough scheme.
The guidance clarifies a number of points which are pertinent to employers seeking to take advantage of the extension. Namely, these are:
- From 1 November 2020, employers may claim 80% of a furloughed employee’s salary in respect of their typical work hours (up to a maximum of £2,500).
- Employers may agree with an employee to retrospectively place them on furlough (from 1 November) and claim salary under the CJRS for that period. This will be subject to an agreement with the employee being put in place on or before 13 November 2020.
- Upon placing an employee on furlough, employers must confirm in writing to that employee that they have been furloughed and keep this written record for a minimum of five years.
- Employers may claim for employees that were employed by them on 30 October 2020, subject to the employer making a PAYE and Real Time Information (‘RTI’) submission to HMRC for each of those employees between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020.
- Employees that were made redundant, or stopped working for their employer, on or after 23 September 2020 may be re-employed by their employer and placed on furlough. Employers can subsequently claim for this period under the CJRS, subject to the employer making a PAYE and Real Time Information (‘RTI’) submissions to HMRC in respect of those employees between 20 March and 23 September 2020.
- There is no limit on the number of employees for which an employer can make a claim (which is a departure from the previous rules).
- Employees that are, or have been, on maternity leave will be required to give the statutory minimum of eight weeks’ notice ahead of their return to work, in order to be furloughed and receive furlough payments under the CJRS. However, employers should be aware that the guidance does not currently address employees and employers who have agreed to shorten that notice period, indicating that this period may no longer be shortened by agreement. We are waiting further clarification from the government on this point.
- Employees who have transferred to a new employer by operation of TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations 2006) can be furloughed by their new employer. The new employer can claim in respect of employees who transferred to them by operation of TUPE for periods after 1 November 2020. This is subject to:
a. the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules applying to the change in ownership; and
b. the relevant employees having previously been furloughed in accordance with the CJRS criteria.
Further, those employees must have been employed by their previous employer on or before 30 October 2020 and transferred to their new employer on or after 1 September 2020.
Any TUPE related CJRS claims made by an employer remain subject to a limit on the number of employees that can be claimed for, being the total of:
- the maximum number of employees the new employer claimed for in any one claim (ending on or before 30 June); and
- the number of employees being transferred to the new employer that have had a CJRS claim submitted for them in respect of a period of at least 3 consecutive weeks between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 (subject to the previous employer’s maximum cap).
Claiming for employee notice periods:
- The Government is in the process of reviewing employers’ ability to claim for employees that are currently serving their required contractual or statutory notice periods.
- The current guidance on this is expected to change on or after 1 December 2020 (with the applicable guidance being published in late November). Accordingly, to avoid potentially missing out on support for notice periods under the CJRS, employers should give notice to employees they are thinking about dismissing or making redundant before 1 December 2020.
Publication of employer names that claim under the CJRS:
- From December 2020, HMRC will make public the names (and company registration number) of companies and limited liability partnerships that make claims under the CJRS (for claims made from December 2020 and onwards).
Get in touch
If your business needs legal support with any issues arising from COVID-19, please get in touch with Millie Kempley.
All information in this update is accurate at the time of writing. It is meant for general information only and is not legal advice.