As we know "furlough" has become the current buzzword, having never been previously heard of in the UK and with current figures stating that 25% of the UK workforce has been furloughed - a lot of us have invested in the Scheme.
The Scheme - as we know - is a grant, not a loan, and there is no debt associated. However, there are potentially some hidden stingers in the Scheme that Employer needs to be aware of.
Part of the deal you agree to when signing up for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is that you, as the Employer, agree with your Employee that they will cease all work when on furlough leave - not just "revenue earning" or "providing non-revenue services". This is where the problems could lie for businesses.
Employers are required to retain records for all Employees that have been put on furlough leave for a period of 5 years. This is to give the HMRC a significant period of time to review all applications made for the Scheme to make sure there has been no abuse of the Scheme.
The HMRC portal opened to much anticipation on Monday morning, and within the first half hour over 67,000 claims had been submitted - and so far, the portal has had no technical issues, with the claims expected to arrive in the individual bank accounts within 7 to 10 days.
Our previous blogs cover the subject in depth, so we having clicked through the portal we have put together a short blog covering what you need to have prepared for when you go to submit your claim - as well as a refresh of the eligibility criteria required for both Employers and Employees.
And so you don't have to write any of this done, or flick back and forth between tabs (which gets old quickly), you can click the button below and download the PDF of this blog.
As of yesterday, 15th April 2020, the Government has released further information regarding the Scheme. There are also changes to the previous information which could impact some Employers.
The major change is that, where previously eligibility was dictated by having a PAYE payroll that had started on or prior to the 28th February 2020, there has been an extension to this date giving a further three weeks of leeway for both Employers and Employees. The new date of eligibility is having a PAYE payroll on or before the 19th March 2020.
As of yesterday we had never been given clear guidance as to what to do with ex-Employees asking to be re-employed so they can be furloughed. This can still be done, however there have been restrictions put in place - the Employee must have left your employment between the 28th February and 19th March 2020, and the HMRC must have been notified of this change (on an RTI submission) on or before the 28th February 2020.
The portal for submitting your claim for the Job Retention Scheme is still due to launch at the end of April, unfortunately now - what we've heard - is that claims won't be refunded until toward the end of May.
This is a blow for Employers as it puts them under an additional months strain, and if you are struggling, talk to your financial advisors as you may want to consider a short term business loan to cover the overheads until the claim is due to refund.
For a clear list of what you will need to make a claim, read on.
The government has now released clear guidance on which Employees are eligible for Furlough Leave, there are some changes from the FAQs that we released last week.
As we know, you can only claim for Employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19th March 2020.
Employees hired after 19th March 2020 cannot be furloughed and claimed for in accordance with the Scheme.
Employees can be on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts. Foreign nationals are also eligible to be furloughed.
If your Employee has more than one job then they can be furloughed by each Employer individually as each job is separate. This also means that the Employee can be furloughed for one job but continue working for the other receiving their normal wage for that position.
Following the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme FAQs that we previously released, we know a number of employers are considering furloughing some of their employees to help ease the financial burden while the business isn't trading normally.
We also know that while you've been exploring this option and having conversations with your employees, some of you have received the seemingly somewhat cheeky question of:
"Can I work for another business while I'm on furlough leave?"
As we know, to access the 80% grant (which covers the salary, NI contributions and 3% employer pension contributions) the employer needs to register their employee as "Furloughed".
This guidance sheet is intended to provide answers to some of the many questions that we are receiving in regard to Reclaiming SSP. We will update this guidance document regularly and keep updated answers on our website.
What is the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme?
This Scheme has been set-up to repay employers for any Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) outgoings to current or former employees who had periods of sickness starting on or after the 13th March 2020.
The Scheme is anticipated to open toward the end of April 2020, similar to the Furlough Scheme the HMRC are designing a new online portal for claims.
This guidance sheet is intended to provide answers to some of the many questions that we are receiving in regard to Essential Work and Key Workers. We will update this guidance document regularly and keep updated answers on our website.
What is Essential Work?
Essential work are tasks that cannot be completed at home and must be completed on-site. The work must be critical to the continued operation of the country or in the COVID response, and without which there would be a significant impact. The government has given us defined Categories in which this work must fall, as discussed below.
This guidance sheet is intended to provide answers to some of the many questions that we are receiving in regard to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We will update this guidance document regularly and keep updated answers on our website.
What is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a ‘temporary’ scheme open to Employers for at least 3 months (with the potential to be extended dependent on the pandemic situation) starting on 1st March 2020.
It is designed to support Employers who have been severely affected by COVID-19. There is no financial limit on what Employers can claim (but there is a cap for how much can be claimed per Employee which is £2500).
You can download these FAQs here:
A number of Employers will have been recruiting or will have recently agreed contracts with new starts.
As we know, most recruitment projects have been postponed until the Autumn (or the next earliest opportunity) as travel has been vastly restricted, the ability to complete any interviews face-to-face has been removed (unless you're open to video conferencing) and it would prove extremely difficult to agree new contracts during this time due to uncertainty.
However, what about those Employers who have already agreed new starts? New Employees that were due to start working for you soon and have already resigned from their previous Employer - what can we do about them?