The latest guidance on the extended furlough scheme
12 November 2020
In our article on 6 November 2020 which can be found here we outlined the terms of the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which had been announced at that time. Further guidance from the Government was awaited and that was published on 10 November 2020. The most relevant new points are these:
- Under the existing rules, employers have been able to claim for employees during their notice periods (statutory or contractual), provided of course that the employee remains employed and is not being paid in lieu of notice. That remains the case for the moment, but the new guidance does say that the Government will review this position and issue further guidance later this month, with the possibility of this position being changed from 1 December 2020. It is not yet clear whether employers will be able to claim in respect of the balance of the notice period for employees who have been given notice of termination of their employment before 1 December 2020. This is a really important point for any employers who are contemplating redundancies now or in the coming months – we will of course update you as soon as any further information is available.
- HMRC have said that they will publish the names and registered numbers of all companies and LLPs which make claims under the scheme from 1 December 2020 onwards. Presumably this is intended to act as a deterrent to employers who are using the scheme but whose financial performance is such that others may consider that this usage is inappropriate.
- Employees returning from maternity leave will have to give 8 weeks’ notice of their intention to return before going onto furlough. The guidance is not absolutely clear, but it appears that the employer and employee are not able to agree a shorter notice period before placing the employee of furlough.
- Employers and employees can agree to retrospectively furlough someone with effect from 1 November 2020, provided the agreement to retrospectively claim furlough occurs on or before 13 November 2020. That agreement should be in writing.
As detailed above, there will be a further review later this month, and as mentioned in our previous article, a further review in January 2021 to determine the level of support the scheme will provide for employers for February and March 2021. In other words, watch this space!
If you are an employer and would like to talk through a situation that you are dealing with, then we can help. Please call us on 01243 836840 for a no obligation chat, or email us at [email protected].