Job Retention Scheme update

HMRC has updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, following the formal directions issued by the Treasury on 15 April 2020 under the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Together, these clarify several points regarding the operation of the Scheme. Our full guidance can be accessed here.

  1. The qualifying date on which an employee must be on payroll to be covered by the Scheme has been moved from 28 February 2020 to 19 March 2020.
  2. Employers must have submitted real-time information payroll data about the employee by that date.
  3. Employees must agree in writing that they will cease all work during the period of furlough. If employees have been placed on furlough without this written agreement, this should be addressed to ensure continued eligibility.
  4. The Scheme will apply to all employees who are furloughed “by reason of circumstances as a result of coronavirus or coronavirus disease”, not just those who would have been made redundant.
  5. Employers can reclaim an employee’s “normal” wages, which will not take into account discretionary or performance based bonuses, or payments which are conditional or non-monetary.
  6. For employees in the hospitality sector in particular this could be a significant distinction, as “normal” wages does not include tips.

The updated guidance does not deal with annual leave, which remains unclear.

If you are affected by any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact Jack Balmer or your usual Tughans contact for further advice and guidance.

While great care has been taken in the preparation of the content of this article, it does not purport to be a comprehensive statement of the relevant law and full professional advice should be taken before any action is taken in reliance on any item covered.