On the 5th November 2020, the Government announced that it would be extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) until the end of March 2021. This move was welcomed by many businesses and will allow employers to plan effectively for next year. In this blog we have summarised, in a ‘simple-read’ document, the main points from the new Government guidance on the extension to the furlough scheme. The guidance on the scheme reads much like the previous guidance, however, there are some key changes that you need to know about:
- Employers can furlough employees and claim 80% of wages, up to a maximum of £2,500. The Employer will be required to pay Employer NICs and pension contributions which means the amount recoverable is the same as it was in August 2020.
- The Job Support Scheme, which was meant to start on the 1st November 2020, has been postponed.
- Employers can now place any employee on furlough as long as they were employed on or before 30th October 2020. Unlike the previous scheme, the employees do not need to have been on furlough before.
Submitting a claim
- Submitting a claim – the deadlines for filing a claim under the furlough scheme has been shortened. Employers have only 14 calendar days to file their claims for the previous month unless there is “a reasonable excuse for failing to make a claim in time”
The deadlines for your diary are below:
Claim for furlough days in
Claim must be submitted by
14th December 2020
14th January 2021
15th February 2021
15th March 2021
14th April 2021
- As the announcement about the extension of the furlough scheme was made on 31st October 2020, to allow for a transition period the Government confirmed that furlough agreements could be backdated to 1st November 2020 but only if they were put in place by 13th November 2020.
- Employers should have written confirmation of their furlough agreements with the staff they wish to place on furlough.
- Employers must keep these written confirmation of agreements for five years and should keep a written record of how many hours someone works and how many hours they are furloughed, if they are working under a flexible furlough arrangement.
Maximum number of staff on furlough
- Under the previous scheme there was limits on the maximum number of employees that employers could claim for, however, this cap has now been removed. From 1st November 2020, there is no maximum number of employees that an employer can claim for.
- The Government have now confirmed that an employer cannot claim for any days on or after 1st December 2020 during which the employee was serving a contractual or statutory notice period for the employer (this includes people serving notice of retirement or resignation). However, employer will still be able to claim for periods spent on statutory OR contractual notice before 1st December 2020.
Names of employers using furlough scheme
- HMRC will publish details of employers who are claiming under the furlough scheme. Presumably, in an attempt to minimise fraudulent claims, starting on or after 1st December 2020.
- The following information will be published on the GOV.UK website:
- the employer’s name;
- an indication of the value of the furlough claims;
- the company number, for companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)
- The guidance states that “HMRC will not publish details of employers claiming through the scheme if you can show that publicising these would result in a serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain individuals, or any individual living with them.”
The Government guidance comprises for several different guidance notes and whilst this blog gives you an overview of the key changes, if you are furloughing employees it is important that you consider the guidance fully or seek advice on the circumstances. To help you navigate the guidance, we have set out below the links to some of the key notes:
Extension of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Claim for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Check if you could be covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Step by Step Guide for Employers
For any further advice on the extended furlough scheme and your specific employment law queries please contact Sharon Ridley on 01228 587413 or firstname.lastname@example.org.