Update 16 November 2020

Job Retention Scheme Extension

We now have further details on the extended furlough scheme. We’ve summarised the details below with the most common questions we are being asked.

1.The old Scheme

Any claims relating to the period before 31 October must be claimed by 30 November.

2.The New scheme

The Scheme has been extended until 31 March 2021. This replaces the previously announced Job Support Scheme which was due to come into effect in November.

Is the scheme flexible?

Yes, it is. You can furlough your staff for half an hour a day, a couple of days a week, full time, and anything in between. This scheme is fully flexible for ANY working pattern. If you and/or your staff are not at capacity, then this scheme is there to help you.

I didn’t furlough last time – can I be furloughed now?

Yes, anyone can now be furloughed. The company does not have to have used the previous scheme and the employee does not have to have been previously furloughed.

How much can I claim?

The employer can claim up to 80% of an employee’s wages but they will remain responsible for the employers NI and pension contributions. This is up to the maximum of £2,500.

Do I need to top their salary up?

No, you don’t. There are two exceptions covered later in relation to anyone on national minimum wage undertaking training or anyone taking holidays.

Who can I claim for?

Anyone employed by you before 30 October- they must have been on payroll between 20 March and 30 October.

I recently made someone redundant can I re-hire and furlough them?

Yes, you can if they were employed by you on Sept 23rd and they were on a payroll submitted between 20 March and 30 October 2020.

Can I ask my employee to do some training whilst furloughed?

Yes, you can provide this does not include providing a service or generating revenue on behalf of the company. Employees must be paid at least the minimum wage whilst training and as such will need to be topped up if necessary, during their training hours.

My employee needs to take time off to care for their children who have to self -isolate- can they be furloughed?

Yes, you can furlough anyone who either needs to take time off due to being clinically vulnerable or for caring responsibilities as a result of COVID.

My employee needs to self-isolate due to COVID can they be furloughed?

Short term illness/self-isolation should not be a consideration in deciding whether to furlough an employee. If, however, employers want to furlough employees for business reasons and they are currently off sick, they are eligible to do so, as with other employees. In these cases, the employee should no longer receive sick pay and would be classified as a furloughed employee.

What happens if someone wants to take holidays?

Employees can take holiday whilst on furlough. If an employee is flexibly furloughed, then any hours taken as holiday during the claim period should be counted as furloughed hours rather than working hours. These do need to be paid at their usual rate of pay (i.e. topped up).However, employees should not be placed on furlough for a period simply because they are on holiday for that period.

When can I claim?

As with the existing scheme you can claim shortly before, during or after running payroll. Claims for November opened on 11 November.

Is there a deadline for the claim?

Yes, this has been shortened and now all claims must be submitted within 14 days of the month end.

What records do I need to keep?

Employers must have

  • Written agreements with their employee that they have a temporary working arrangement for the reduced hours. (This must cover more than a seven-day period).
  • Records of their worked hours and usual hours – these records must be retained for five years.

Anything else I need to know?

From December 2020, HMRC will publish employer names and company registration number of those who have made claims under the scheme for the month of December onwards.

Any further questions please contact us below

This article is written for the general interest of our clients and is not a substitute for consulting the relevant legislation or taking professional advice. The authors and the firm cannot accept any responsibility for loss arising from any person acting or refraining from acting on the basis of the material included herein.

Andy Fleet

Author Andy Fleet

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