On 17 December the Chancellor announced a further extension to the CJRS which will now run until the end of April 2021. At the same time it was also announced that the Budget will be held on 3 March and will set out the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs. The new end date for CJRS should give businesses sufficient planning time during March and April to consider their next steps with information given in the Budget.
The details of the scheme remain largely unchanged (see our previous article) but it is important to note two significant changes to the CJRS which have largely gone unreported:
• Employer claim information that HMRC will make public
From February 2021, as part of HMRC’s commitment to transparency and to deter fraudulent claims, they will publish information about employers who claim for periods starting on or after 1 December 2020. The following information will be published on GOV.UK:
- The employer name
- An indication of the value of the claim within a banded range
- The company number for companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)
From February, HMRC will also be improving the information available to furloughed employees by including details of claims made for them, for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020 in their Personal Tax Account on GOV.UK.
HMRC will not publish details of employers claiming through the scheme if you can show that publicising these would result in a serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain relevant individuals, or any individual living with them. Further details on how to request that HMRC do not publish your details will be available soon, providing employers enough time to do this before the first publication date.
• Statutory and contractual notice periods are no longer to be covered by the CJRS from 1 December
Previously employers were allowed to claim support though the CJRS for the periods employees were on notice of termination (statutory or contractual), but this has been brought to an end and is no longer allowed. Whilst the CJRS did not in any event cover payment in lieu of notice or statutory redundancy payments, the Government has now decided to stop covering the relevant proportion of the wages payable to employees who are serving out their notice periods.
The updated guidance provides that, for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, an employer cannot claim for any days on or after 1 December 2020 during which a furloughed employee is serving a contractual or statutory notice period. As part of the claim submission, the employer is required to confirm that none of the employees claimed for are serving their notice during the claim period. This is expressly stated to include employees serving notice of retirement or resignation. If an employee subsequently starts a contractual or statutory notice period on a day covered by a claim which has already been submitted, then the employer would need to make an adjustment to the claim. This is an important change with the effect that employers are fully responsible for termination costs, whether in relation to dismissals for redundancy or other departures.
Please get in touch with our HR Consultancy team if you would like more information or require help with any of the above.