Extended Furlough: Guidance Published
Following our previous article, the Government has now released further guidance for the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the “Scheme”).
As we’ve previously mentioned, from 1 November 2020 employers can claim 80% of the salary for their employee’s hours which were not worked, although this is capped at £2,500 per month. Employees must have been on the PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020 in order to be eligible and employers should have made a Real Time Information (“RTI”) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020 for them.
The Government has also confirmed that employees who were made redundant on or after 23 September 2020 and were re-hired are also eligible for the Scheme. The RTI criteria is not applicable for those employees.
Employers are able to claim for employees who were not placed on furlough under the previous Scheme and flexible furlough will remain an option. This gives employers the flexibility to furlough employees on any work pattern and for any amount of time.
Number of employees eligible
Regardless as to the size of the employer, there is no maximum number of employees that can be claimed for from 1 November 2020, so technically the whole of the workforce could well be placed on furlough.
Employees working their notice period
However, an important update is that the Government is reviewing whether or not employers can claim for those employees who are serving either contractual or statutory notice periods and they will change the approach after 1 December 2020. Further guidance on this is expected later this month, but if an employer is contemplating dismissing an employee, it might be beneficial to give them notice before 1 December.
Any employee returning from maternity leave will need to give at least 8 weeks’ notice (the statutory minimum) to end their maternity and move on to the furlough scheme.
Employers will have until 30 November 2020 to submit or make amendments to any claims for the periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.
Importantly, if an employer puts an employee on furlough, they need to ensure that they confirm this in writing and keep a written record for 5 years.