More revisions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

On 9 April 2020, HMRC published a third version of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance for employers.

There are several changes to the guidance, most importantly:

  • HMRC have now confirmed that a new employer of TUPE’d employees who transferred after 28 February can be furloughed.
  • Employers can place employees who are currently off sick on furlough, although employers will not be able to claim for 80% of the employee’s wage and the SSP rebate for the same period of time. Furlough is not to be used for short-term illness, especially given that there is a 3 week minimum period where the employee has to furloughed. If a furloughed employee becomes ill then it is up to the employer whether they place them on SSP or leave them as furloughed.
  • Employers can also choose to furlough long-term sick or ‘shielded’ employees. Shielded employees are those who are most vulnerable, and those in their households, who have been advised by the Government to not leave their homes for a minimum of 12 weeks.
  • Businesses can only reclaim national insurance and pension contributions on the furlough salary, not the employee’s normal salary.
  • HMRC have clarified that, while on furlough, employees cannot work for the employer or any organisations that are linked to the employer.
  • Employers cannot make any deductions from the grant for administration charges or other similar fees. The entire furlough grant must be paid to the employee.
  • HMRC have confirmed that it will not be a breach of visa conditions if those working on certain work visas receive funds under the furlough scheme. Usually, those working on visas cannot access public funds but HMRC has clarified that grants under the CJRS will not count and employers can furlough employees on all categories of visa.

You can read the revised guidance in full here.

This alert does not provide a full statement of the law and readers are advised to take legal advice before taking any action based on the information contained herein.

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