Coronavirus - Job Retention Scheme - updated guidance 23/3/20

COVID Virus

What is this scheme?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a government grant which will reimburse employers for 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, to a cap of £2,500 per employee per month. This is not a loan and does not need to be repaid.

The employer could choose to fund the 20% difference between this payment and their salary, but does not have to.

This scheme is in place to prevent employers from making redundancies and terminate employment.

The scheme can be backdated to begin from the 1st March and it can include workers who were in employment on 28 February.

It will remain open initially for at least three months but may be extended.

Who is eligible for the scheme?

All UK businesses are eligible for this scheme including any employer in the country – small or large, charitable and non-profit companies.

Furloughed workers

The employer will designate affected workers who are temporarily not working during the coronavirus pandemic as “furloughed workers”. They will then notify their staff of this change. Please note that employees may need to agree in writing of this change depending on their employment contracts. Given the alternative is redundancy it is likely they would agree.

This is also useful for employees that are unable to work due to childcare restrictions.
The employer would then submit information to HMRC about the workers that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal that is being set up - HMRC will set out further details on the information required shortly.

Furloughed workers must carry out no work for their employer.

There is insufficient detail available at the moment to ascertain what kind of controls will be in place to monitor.

It is also not clear whether directors and shareholders of owner managed companies can put themselves 'on furlough', or how it affects zero hours workers but we would expect a strict policy on the no work rule making this difficult for directors to be able to claim this grant.

Further details

We will be able to follow up with more detail on the implementation of the scheme shortly.

As the new system has just been announced we’re working out the details as fast as possible.

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