UPDATED 13 NOVEMBER 2020
More details on the third version of the furlough scheme covering the period 1 November 2020 to 31 March 2021 have been released.
This version of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) replaces what was meant to be the Job Support Scheme, but that has been put on hold until at least April 2021. The Job Retention Bonus will no longer be paid in February 2021 as CJRS will be available at that time.
Under CJRS, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500 a month, paid for by the government. Employers will have to pay the relevant NICs and workplace pensions.
There is no maximum number of employees that employers can claim for (as opposed to furlough v2 up to 31 October where employers could only claim for the number of employees they had claimed for previous to June).
When it was announced that the furlough scheme would continue until March next year, the Chancellor also stated that the policy would be reviewed in January 2021 “to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more”.
A factsheet, and a separate policy paper for furlough v3 were published to accompany the original announcement.
In addition, on 13 November 2020, a Treasury Direction (the legislation) was issued applying for the period 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021. The scheme applying after 31 January 2021 will be announced in January.
The Treasury Direction also withdraws the Job Retention) Bonus that would have been payable in February.
Key action points
- It is a condition of using the furlough scheme that the employer accepts that HMRC will publish information about claims, including the name of the employer and a “reasonable indication” of the amount claimed, unless the employer can demonstrate that such publication would expose the workforce to “serious risk of violence or intimidation”.
- Written furlough agreements have to be in place before the start of a claim period (though they can be varied during the claim period). It may be enough to update an earlier agreement, provided it is done before the worker is furloughed under the furlough v3 rules. Appropriate legal advice may therefore be necessary.
- Claims cannot be made for any day that an employee is serving notice between 1 December 2020 and 31 January 2021. See our separate article on this.
Employers looking to implement furlough agreements that have effect from 1 November 2020 and which are consistent with employment law could do so before 13 November 2020 to be effective, though that window has now closed.
Also note that claims for periods beginning on or after 1 November 2020 will need to be submitted by the 14th day of the following month (see our separate article on this).
Additionally, different calculations will need to be applied where new employees have been recruited between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020.
MAIN FURLOUGH SCHEME POINTS
- Eligible employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
- Employer flexibility: Businesses will have flexibility to use the scheme for employees for any amount of time and shift pattern, including furloughing them full-time.
- Employer contribution: There will be NO employer contribution to wages for hours not worked. Employers will only be asked to cover National Insurance and Employer pension contributions for hours not worked. For an average claim, this accounts for just 5% of total employment costs or £70 per employee per month. The policy will be reviewed in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.
- Payment: The extended CJRS will operate as the previous Scheme did, with businesses being able to claim either shortly before, during or after running payroll. Claims can be made from 8am Wednesday 11 November. Claims made for November must be submitted to HMRC by no-later than 14 December 2020. Claims relating to each subsequent month should be submitted by day 14 of the following month, to ensure prompt claims following the end of the month which is the subject of the claim.
- Employee eligibility: Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously claimed or have been claimed for under CJRS to make a claim under the extended CJRS (if other eligibility criteria are met). An employer can claim for employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020. The employer must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.
- Employees that are re-employed: Employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 (the day before the Job Support Scheme announcement) who were made redundant or stopped working afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for. The employer must have made an RTI submission to HMRC from 20 March 2020 to 23 September 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for those employees.
- HMRC will publish details of employers who make claims from December onwards under the extended scheme.
Full details now published
HMRC has also made clear that it will publish employer names for companies and Limited Liability Partnerships that have made claims under the furlough scheme for the month of December onwards.
The detailed guidance for the scheme is now available via the links below.
Previously excluded from the furlough scheme were directors of owner-managed companies who had reported their annual payment for 2019/20 to HMRC after 19 March 2020.
Under furlough version 3, directors can be included if they have earnings reported by 30 October 2020.
The furlough rate is based on what they reported in the period 20 March to 30 October 2020, subject to the £2,500 monthly pay cap, pro-rated to the number of furloughed hours as a proportion of usual hours.
Covid transition hub
Check out our Business after COVID-19: Transition Knowledge Hub for more guidance and advice on managing the pandemic.