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    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS): Updated Guidance

    Summary

    Further changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) announced. Fiona Mendel and Michael Mason cover some of the key points.

    The Government last night (10 November 2020) released updated guidance on the CJRS with respect to the extended furlough scheme. Most of the changes had been previously announced and were covered in our previous update on 5 November here. However, some key points have emerged that employers who are utilising the scheme need to be aware of, which we have listed below:

    • The Government is reviewing whether employers should be eligible to claim under the scheme for employees serving contractual or statutory notice and may change the approach for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, with further guidance published in late November. This could have implications for those who have rehired ex-employees or extended the notice periods of staff who have been made redundant.
    • There is now no maximum number of employees that employers can claim for. Previously the amount which could be claimed for in any single claim period could not exceed the maximum number of employees claimed for in the previous claim period, so this represents a more generous version of the scheme.
    • From December 2020, HMRC will publish the names of employers, including companies and LLPs, who have made claims under the scheme for the month of December onwards. This will create a more transparent system and reduce the number of fraudulent or incorrect claims being made.
    • Employers can currently make retrospective claims backdated to 1 November, but furlough agreements must be in place by this Friday, 13 November. After this date, employers will still be able to furlough their employees subject to the rules around eligibility, but claims cannot be backdated.
    • Employees on maternity leave who wish to cut their maternity leave short can give 8 weeks’ notice to return sooner, but they will not be eligible for furlough during this 8 week period.
    • The guidance sets out details relating to those shielding and vulnerable, clarifying that you can now only furlough those that are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’, and not all employees that are shielding. Those groups of people have been advised that where it is not possible to work from home, they should not attend work for the current lockdown period.  

    In summary, it is crucial and time critical that employers understand the technicalities surrounding the extended scheme. New guidance documents have been released to assist, with worked examples being provided. Employers should have clear and accurate records of extended furlough agreements in place to mitigate the risk of Tribunal claims and HMRC investigations.

    Should you have any queries on the above or require any employment related advice, please contact Helen Crossland at helen.crossland@seddons.co.uk or on 020 7725 8034 or Fiona Mendel at fiona.mendel@seddons.co.uk or on 020 7725 8033.

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