Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - update

The scheme is for any employee on payroll on 1st March 2020. Payments should be available from the end of April and backdated to 1st March.

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement.

Employers do not have to pay the remaining 20% to top up an employee’s salary. However, the employee does have to agree to this approach, or it may be considered to be withholding contractual pay (as above, once you have agreed terms with employees follow this up in writing to avoid any possible conflict or confusion at a later date).

In order to qualify for the scheme, employers must designate affected employees as Furloughed workers and notify them of this change (this notification should be followed up in writing to confirm the arrangements which have been agreed).

Employees that do qualify for the scheme should not conduct any work for their employer.

Employees who are Furloughed will remain employed and therefore retain their continuous length of service.

Employees can’t choose to be Furloughed. The choice must be that of the employers and as such employers should manage the conversations with employees.

The system is likely to be open to abuse and its anticipated that some businesses will claim that employees are Furloughed when then are in fact continuing to work. The government will take action against any such employers and rightly so, given the national effort that is being made by us all to help combat this virus. So, if you are going to utilise the scheme please ensure you adhere to the rules and regulations.

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