The Government has now set out further particulars of how the Job Retention Scheme Extended is intended to work following through to 31st March 2021 (effective from 1st November 2020)

Whilst many of the guidelines have remained the same, there have been some very important changes.  As previously, we must caution that whilst more detailed guidance is welcome, there remain uncertainties for which further clarification will be given in the coming weeks…

In the interim, we have tried to pick up some of the core detail provided in the latest announcement.

Should you want to review the latest Scheme details yourself please follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

So What Has Changed?

  1. Who is eligible?
    • From 1st November you can furlough any current employee who was on a payroll RTI between 20th March 2020 and 30th October;
    • Employees do NOT have to have been previously furloughed
    • This means employees who were previously not eligible to be furloughed under CJRS are now eligible under CJRS Extended
    • If you are a Barrons payroll client:
      1. We are working upon updating your monthly spreadsheets to include all eligible employees;
      2. We hope to release the latest spreadsheets by Monday 16th November 2020, giving priority to weekly payroll clients first

 

  1. How Will Reference Pay Be Calculated Under CJRS Extended?
    • Employees employed on or before 19th March 2020 (who were either furloughed or not furloughed) will have their reference pay calculated as follows:
      1. For fixed pay employees, reference pay will continue to be paid based upon the last pay received on or before 19th March 2020 (same as for CJRS)
      2. For variable pay employees. reference pay will be the higher of (1) the employees average pay in tax year 19/20 and (2) the pay they received in the comparable pay period the previous year (same as for CJRS)
    • Employees employed after 19th March and on or before 30th October will have their reference pay calculated as follows:
      1. For fixed pay employees, reference pay will be based upon their last pay received on or before 30th October;
      2. For variable pay employees. reference pay will be the average pay between their start date and the day before they were furloughed

 

  1. How Much Can I Claim and What Payments Can I Claim Furlough For?
    • From 1st November 2020 until January 2021,
      1. you can claim the full 80% gross pay back through the grant;
      2. you will have to pay the associated employers NI and Pension contributions.
    • In January 2021
      1. HMRC will review the scheme again and may decide to reduce the amount the employer can claim back;

  

  1. What About Holiday Pay and Notice Pay?
    • Holiday Pay
      1. You can still claim furlough on holiday pay but you must top up the pay to full pay at your own expense;
      2. The employee must already be on a flexi furlough agreement – you cannot furlough an employee just to cover holiday;
    • Notice Pay
      1. In November you can continue to claim the furlough for notice pay;
      2. This may change from 1st December – details are due to be published at the end of November.

 

  1. When Can I Make My Claim?
    • The time limit to make a claim has been significantly reduced;
    • From 1st December, employers have ONLY until the 14th of the following month to submit a claim (where the 14th falls on a weekend the closing date will be the following working day);
    • Claims can be submitted before the claim period ends
    • If you are a Barrons payroll client:
      1. To ensure we can submit your claim on time we will need to restrict any last minute changes to the payroll;
      2. Please try to make sure the data is correct before sending it to us. 
  • It is also vital that you take the time to fill in the flexi spreadsheets we send you that help us process your payroll correctly and your subsequent claim to HMRC. 
  1. We will aim to prepare your claim for approval as soon as the payroll has been finalised;
  2. However, month end is a very busy period for us in payroll so please be patient while we prepare your claim;
  3. We will let you know when the claim has been uploaded to Iris Openspace and ask that you log in and approve as soon as possible. 

 

  1. Can I Re-Employ Someone Who Has Left or I Have Made Redundant & Then Furlough Them?
    • Yes you can, employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23rd September 2020 who were made redundant or stopped working for their employer afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for;
    • You will have to re-instate as an employee from the day after they left;
    • They will have to pay back any redundancy pay in full (but not the notice pay) and their original start date will be valid;
    • You can claim the furlough for them however the date to make a furlough claim for September has expired; for October payroll note that the Claim has to be made by 30th November. 
    • Note that you will incur the following expenses
      1. Employers NI and pension contributions;
      2. Holiday that is accrued;
  • If you decide to make them redundant again at a later date they may have reached an additional full years service or reached another birthday that may increase the redundancy pay and notice owed to them;
  1. From December 2020 HMRC may remove the ability to claim furlough on notice pay;
  2. From February 2021 HMRC may reduce the amount you can claim back through CJRS Extended
  3. Once re-employed, any future redundancy will have to be reviewed and considered again in consistency with employment law
  • If you are a Barrons payroll client:
    1. Please let Lisa Edwards know as soon as possible if you are considering re-instating an employee and placing them on furlough so that we immediately adjust your current claim. 

 

  1. And Finally – What Has Stayed The Same?
    • Furlough Arrangements
      1. From 1st November employees can be fully furloughed or flexi furloughed;
      2. When flexi furloughed an employee can work as many/few hours as required by the business in any shift pattern;
  • Employers must pay employees
    • in full for hours worked; and
    • make a furlough payment of at least 80 % of their normal pay for hours not worked – up to a cap of £2,500 per month (proportional to hours not worked);
  1. Whilst furloughed an employee must not undertake any work for the business however they can engage in training;
  2. Employers can choose to top up pay if they wish;
  3. Pay for holiday must be topped up at the expense of the employer;
  • You can claim the furlough on notice pay for November but the guidelines will change on this from 1st December 2020 (further details to be published by the end of November)
  • Furlough Agreements
    1. The decision to put an employee on fully furlough or flexi furlough must be consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws;
    2. Must extend for at least a period of 7 calendar days;
  • Employers must discuss the agreement with the employee and confirm in writing – the Government will accept retrospective agreements for the period 1st November to 13th November;
  1. Copies of written agreements must be kept for 5 years;
  2. Records of hours worked/not worked must be kept for 6 years.

Barrons has put together a helpful guide to running your business during the coronavirus crisis.