Details about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Coronavirus business update for 6 April

Here’s the latest Government guidance relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The guidance includes lots of helpful information about different categories of employee and different circumstances and is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Some key points to note (by no means exhaustive):

  • The online service you’ll use to claim is not available yet. The government expect it to be available by the end of April 2020.

Agreeing to furlough employees

  • Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. When employers are making decisions in relation to the process, including deciding who to offer furlough to, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.
  • To be eligible for the grant employers must confirm in writing to their employee confirming that they have been furloughed. A record of this communication must be kept for five years.
  • You do not need to place all your employees on furlough. However, those employees who you do place on furlough cannot undertake work for you.
  • If sufficient numbers of staff are involved, it may be necessary to engage collective consultation processes to procure agreement to changes to terms of employment.

The Claim:

  • Claims should be started from the date that the employee finishes work and starts furlough, not when the decision is made, or when they are written to confirming their furloughed status.
  • You’ll need to claim for: 80% of your employees’ wages (even for employee’s on National Minimum Wage) – up to a maximum of £2,500. (Do not claim for the worker’s previous salary); minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on the subsidised wage.
  • You’ll still need to pay employer National Insurance and pension contributions on behalf of your furloughed employees, and you can claim for these too.

Minimum furlough periods

  • Any employees you place on furlough must be furloughed for a minimum period of 3 consecutive weeks. When they return to work, they must be taken off furlough. Employees can be furloughed multiple times, but each separate instance must be for a minimum period of 3 consecutive weeks.

When your employees are on furlough

  • You cannot ask your employee to do any work that: makes money for your organisation; provides services for your organisation
  • They can take part in volunteer work or training.

When the government ends the scheme, you must make a decision, depending on your circumstances, as to whether employees can return to their duties. If not, it may be necessary to consider termination of employment (redundancy).

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