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Job retention scheme extension to 31 March 2021

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Any claims made by employers in relation to periods up to 31 October must be submitted by 30 November 2020.  Although the scheme was due to end on 31 October, HMRC issued guidance on 10 November with further detail in relation to the Extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Details can be found on the attached link but highlights from this are as follows:

Written Agreement

  • To be eligible for the grant employers must have a written agreement with their employees that they have been furloughed consistent with employment, equality, and discrimination laws – the employee does not need to provide a written response and this agreement must be kept for 5 years
  • Any flexible furlough agreement will also need to be agreed in writing with the relevant employees. Agreed flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time and employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once

If you require assistance with drafting these agreements, you may need to contact ACAS or an employment lawyer.

Retrospective claims

  • If employers do not already have documentation in place, a flexible furlough or furlough agreement and, therefore, a furlough claim can only be made retrospectively with effect from 1 November 2020 up to and including the 13 November 2020, if a retrospective agreement is put in place by 13 November
  • From 14 November it will not be possible to use an agreement made retrospectively to support a claim for that period and, therefore, if an agreement is not in place by this date then a furlough claim can only be made from the date of the agreement onwards

Who can apply and what level of support is available?

  • The extended scheme is available to all employers and employees, including those who were not previously eligible. Employers can claim for employees who were on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020 provided a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission has been made to HMRC between 20 March and 30 October 2020 for that employee
  • Grants will be available for 80% of usual wages (capped at £2,500 per month) with employers fully paying national insurance and pension contributions – this is the same level of support that was available for August 
  • If employees were on an employers’ payroll on 23 September 2020 (notifying HMRC through an RTI submission on or before 23 September) and were made redundant or stopped working for them afterwards, they can also qualify for the scheme if they are re-employed

Additional information

  • For the month of November, employers can continue to claim for a furloughed employee who is serving a statutory notice period, however, grants cannot be used to substitute redundancy payments – the government is reviewing whether employers should be eligible to claim for employees serving contractual or statutory notice periods and will change the approach for December claim periods
  • From December, HMRC intend to publish details of employers who use the scheme for claim periods from December, and employees will be able to find out if their employer has claimed for them under the scheme
  • There is no longer a requirement for employees to be on a period of full-time furlough before being flexibly furloughed
  • As with the original CJRS, employees cannot do any work that makes money for, or provides services to, their organisation or an associated or linked organisation while furloughed, or during a non-working period of flexible furlough
  • Claims must be submitted within 14 days of the end of the month of claim

Although the scheme has been extended for use up to 31 March 2021, the government will be reviewing the scheme in January.

Here to help

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need any further help and advice on the extended furlough scheme.

 

Tom Dinwiddy

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