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Furlough claims for November open today | Updated CJRS Guidance

A reminder that claims under the extended CJRS scheme for November open today, with a deadline for the month of November closing on 14th December.  The government have now issued updated guidance around the extension of the furlough scheme, and we have highlighted some of the main changes from the original scheme below:

Increased level of support compared to October 2020

From 1 November 2020 the furlough scheme reverts to the same level of government support in August 2020, i.e. the Government will pay 80% of an employee’s wages for hours not worked, to a maximum of £2,500 per month, with employers being asked to pay NICs and pension contributions.  Employees can be flexibly furloughed as before.  For example:

The government will review the level of employers’ contributions to employee’s pay in January 2021. 

As previously, employers can choose to top up employees’ wages above the minimum 80% but are not legally obliged to do so.

Claiming furlough for employees who are serving either statutory or contractual notice periods

The government intends to review their previous policy whereby employers could still claim furlough support for employees serving notice, and this will no longer apply to claim periods from 1 December 2020.  Further government guidance is anticipated on this issue in late November.

Employees need not have been previously furloughed

In a change from when ‘flexible’ furlough was introduced in July 2020, employees need not have been furloughed previously under either previous evolution of furlough, for example, an employee who had not been previously furloughed during the periods March – October 2020 is capable of being furloughed from 1 November 2020.  The other eligibility criteria still applies.  Ultimately this has the effect that there is no maximum number of employees who can be furloughed during this extended period (whereby the evolution of the scheme in July stipulated that employees must have been previously furloughed). 

HMRC will be making a CJRS claimant list available for public inspection

The list will detail employer names, the value of the claim, and for limited companies and Limited Liability Partnerships, the company numbers of those who have made claims under the furlough scheme from December onwards, in an attempt to increase transparency and reduce furlough fraud.   Employers will be exempt from appearing on the list, if they can show that to do so would result in a serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain individuals, or any individual living with them.  Further information is detailed in the government guidance.

There will be monthly deadlines for claims

Claims for financial support under the scheme must be submitted within 14 calendar days after the month to which they relate (unless this falls on a weekend, in which case it rolls over until the next working day).  For example: 

This change suggests a claim will be checked against an RTI submission and grants issued before the PAYE liability is due.  We anticipate that HMRC will be more firm with those businesses with underpayments of PAYE/NIC, and will query over-inflated amounts.

Upwardly revised claims must be submitted within 28 calendar days (unless this falls on a weekend, in which case it rolls over until the next working day).  For example:  

Re-employing recent redundant employees after 1 November 2020

If employees were made redundant, or they left your employment on or after 23 September 2020, then those ex-employees can be re-employed and placed on furlough, providing the employee was on PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020 and an RTI submission in relation to that employee has been made between 20 March and 23 September 2020.

Employees working a fixed term contract

Providing an employee’s fixed term contract did not expire prior to 31 October 2020, then their contract can be extended or renewed, and that employee placed on furlough for claim periods from 1 November 2020, providing they were employed prior to 30 October 2020, and an RTI submission has been made to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020.  As with re-employing redundant employees above, if the fixed term contract expired after 23 September, they can be re-employed and placed on furlough providing the other eligibility criteria are met.

Shielding employees

Clinically extremely vulnerable employees may be eligible for extended CJRS where they cannot work from home.

Reminders:

  • Claims and amendments to claims for periods up to 31 October must be submitted by 30 November 2020
  • The Job Retention Bonus will not be paid in February 2020. The government have confirmed an alternative retention incentive will be introduced at an appropriate juncture in the future.

Further information:

Read the Government’s updated guidance here.

How to make a claim here.

To calculate how much to claim here.

The caveat applies that as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a matter of employment law, you should verify any action with a HR Advisor or Employment Lawyer.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns then you should not hesitate to get in touch: