Fourth version of the Job Retention Scheme 16.04.20

On 15th April, the Government published the fourth version of its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The eligibility has been expanded to benefit 200,000 additional employees and we also have further clarity on how the claims will work.

•  The most notable change is that the claims are now possible in respect of employees who were employed and on the employer’s payroll on or before 19 March 2020 (previous guidance used 28 February). The guidance now clarifies that being on payroll for these purposes means that an RTI (real time information) submission notifying payment in respect of the employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020. This may sound like a big change, but it will mainly only benefit a limited number of weekly paid employees because RTI submissions are normally made towards the end of the month and rarely before the 19th.

•  Employees who were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February, but who were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after that date and before 19 March, can also be covered by the scheme if they are re-employed after 19 March and put on furlough. This severely limits the ability to rehire and furlough ex-employees which caused so much controversy in the past weeks; it essentially means that anyone who was made redundant of left their employer after 19th March cannot be included in the scheme.

Other changes to note:

•  The reference date for salary to be reclaimed for salaried employees is now the last pay period before 19 March 2020, rather than 28 February (although for most this will be the same).

•  There is further guidance for those employees who have been on unpaid leave.

•  The information required to make a claim has been amended. Provision of the payroll/employee number for furloughed employees is now optional.  Employers with fewer than 100 furloughed employees will need to manually enter details of each employee directly into the system; those with 100 or more furloughed employees will need to upload. Agents can make the claim on an employer’s behalf only where the agent has PAYE responsibility and has a 64-8 form in place.

Unhelpfully, we still don’t have any guidance on holidays and the advice in the meantime is to follow ACAS guidelines to allow holidays and bank holidays to be taken during furlough but ensure these days are paid at 100%.

What next?

Please contact our team if you have any questions regarding this or any other issue and keep abreast of all the latest Coronavirus updated on our COVID-19 page.

Please click here to view all articles relating to furlough and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance.

If you require any support with the furlough process, please contact our HR Consultancy team.