Guidance on the extension of the Coronovirus Job Retention Scheme

12th November 2020 Employment

Following on from our recent blog on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the government has published updated guidance following the Chancellor’s announcement last week, that the scheme would be extended until March 2021.

The guidance, released yesterday, most notably provides information on who is eligible and how much you can claim. We have set out some of the key details of the guidance below:

Which employees can you claim for?

You are able to claim for any employees who were employed on 30th October 2020, provided that you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20th March 2020 and 30th October 2020, in respect of their earnings.

Where an employee stopped working for you after 23rd September (due to the end of a fixed term contract), they can be reemployed and claimed for, as long as you have the relevant payroll information requested i.e. the other relevant eligibility criteria are met.

For claim periods after 1 November 2020, a new employer is eligible to claim in respect of the employees of a previous business transferred if the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership. If you have employees who have been TUPE transferred to your company, you can make a claim as long as they were employed by their previous employer on or before 30th October 2020 and were transferred to their new employer on or after 1st September 2020.

For claim periods after 1 November 2020, if you made employees redundant, or they stopped working for you on or after 23 September 2020 you can re-employ them and put them on furlough. This applies as long as the employee was employed and on your PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020. This means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made between 20 March and 23 September 2020.

Where an employee returns from maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption or parental bereavement leave and you are claiming in respect of a period that starts on or after 1st November, the normal scheme rules will apply. Employees could decide to end their maternity leave early to be furloughed, they will need to give 8 weeks’ notice in order to be eligible for furlough.

There are no maximum number of employees which you are able to claim for. This is wider than the flexible furlough scheme from June, which allowed employers to claim only for those employees who had been furloughed for a 3 week period between 1th March and 30th June 2020.

You do not have to have furloughed any of your employees previously to be able to access the scheme from 1st November 2020.

When can you claim?

You will be able to claim for period’s starting on or after 1st November from 11th November 2020. Claims must be submitted by 11:59pm 14 days after the month you’re claiming for, or the next working day.

How much can you claim?

From 1st November the government contributions will revert to the full 80% of your employee’s wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. There will be no requirement to top up the hours not worked.

Employers will still need to pay the employer national insurance and pension contributions on your furloughed employees’ pay.

Formalities

You must keep a copy of all records for 6 years, including:

  • the amount claimed and claim period for each employee;
  • the claim reference number for your records;
  • your calculations in case HMRC need more information about your claim;
  • usual hours worked, including any calculations that were required, for employees you flexibly furloughed; and
  • actual hours worked for employees you flexibly furloughed.

Possible upcoming changes to the scheme

Under the previous scheme, employers could claim for a furloughed employee who was serving their statutory or contractual notice. This is currently under review by the government and further guidance on this is expected to be published in late November, with a new approach coming into force by 1st December 2020.

If you need advice or have any queries about dealing with any workplace issues arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact Paul Chamberlain or another member of the employment team at JMW Solicitors LLP on 0345 241 5305. 

This note is for general guidance only and should not be used for any other purpose. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  

JMW Solicitors is a Limited Liability Partnership. The copyright in this note is owned by JMW. Any reproduction of this article should be credited to JMW. All rights reserved.

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Jennifer Smith is a Partner located in Manchester in our Employment department

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Paul Chamberlain is a Partner and Head of Department located in Manchesterin our Employment department

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