Important updates about the extended CJRS

Following the government’s recent updates to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), read on to understand how the changes will impact employers and employees.
(Updated 13/11/2020).

Key dates

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is being extended until 31 March 2021.
  • The last day employers can submit or change claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020 is 30 November 2020.
  • Claims for furlough days in November 2020 must be submitted by 14 December 2020.
  • The rules for the furlough scheme up to 31 October have not changed. This means that if you are claiming for a period that ends on or before 31 October 2020, you will need to have submitted a claim for the employee you are claiming for in relation to a furlough period of at least three consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 and submitted a claim for this period by 31 July 2020.
  • The government will review the scheme in January 2021.

Purpose of the CJRS

‘Integral to the purpose of CJRS is that the amounts paid to an employer in accordance with the CJRS directions are used by the employer to continue the employment of employees whose employment activities have been adversely affected by the coronavirus and coronavirus disease or the measures taken to prevent or limit its further transmission.’ 
(Extract from Treasury Direction published 13 November 2020)

Eligibility

For periods from 1 November onwards, you can claim for employees who were employed on 30 October 2020, as long as you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

All employers with a UK bank account and UK Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme can claim the grant.

You do not need to have previously claimed for an employee before 30 October 2020.

You can claim for employees on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts. Foreign nationals are eligible to be furloughed.

FAQs

If your employee’s fixed-term contract expired on or after 23 October, they can be re-employed and claimed for as long as they were employed by you on or before 30 October 2020 and you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

Yes. Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and they can continue to train while on furlough. However, you must pay your apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage/National Living Wage as appropriate for all the time they spend training.

Yes. It is possible to be furloughed from one job and work in another job for a separate employer. However, if your contracts of employment state that your staff must not work for a competitor, you should make this clear.

The rules allow this as long as they are not being furloughed by their current employer. Remember though, that to qualify they must have been employed by you on or before 30 October 2020 and you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

The rules allow you to re-employ and furlough someone you made redundant or where they stopped working for you on or after 23 September 2020. This applies as long as the employee was employed by you on September 23 and you made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

Yes, but not for their employer. They can volunteer for another organisation, during hours in which they are furloughed.

Yes, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation or a linked or associated organisation.

Remember that you must pay staff at least the National Living Wage while being trained. In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of an employee’s regular wage, up to the value of £2,500, will provide sufficient monies to cover these training hours. However, where the time spent training attracts a minimum wage entitlement in excess of the furlough payment, employers will need to pay the additional wages.

Yes. During hours in which you record your employee as being on furlough, employees who are union or staff representatives can carry out duties and activities for individual or collective representation of employees or other workers. However, remember that they must not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation or a linked or associated organisation.

Yes, but only for claim periods up to the end of November. You cannot claim a furlough grant for claim periods starting on or after 1 December for an employee under notice. Note this includes people serving notice of retirement or resignation.

This means that if you had previously made a redundancy in September and an individual is serving out their notice to mid-December, you cannot claim a furlough payment for the period from 1 December.

The guidance states that an employee can be furloughed if they are unable to work because they are clinically extremely vulnerable or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and following public health guidance.

However, if the claim period is up to 31 October, the employee must have been furloughed for at least three consecutive weeks any time between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. If the claim period is after 1 November they do not need to have been furloughed previously.

Remember that anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable should have a letter from their doctor asking them to shield.

You can if they are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), including employees who need to look after children. For example, if a young child is sent home from school because of COVID-19.

If your employee is on sick leave as a result of coronavirus, they may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or occupational sick pay under their contract. The CJRS is not intended for short-term absences from work due to sickness.

The guidance states that ‘Short-term illness/self-isolation should not be a consideration in deciding whether to furlough an employee. If, however, employers want to furlough employees for business reasons and they are currently off sick, they are eligible to do so, as with other employees. In these cases, the employee should no longer receive sick pay and would be classified as a furloughed employee.’

The guidance goes on to state that: ‘Employers can furlough employees who are clinically extremely vulnerable, at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus or off on long-term sick leave. It is up to employers to decide whether to furlough these employees.

Anyone who is self-isolating may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). They should not be furloughed unless they would have been furloughed for business reasons, regardless of the fact that they are self-isolating. For example, if everyone in a team is being furloughed because there is no work for the team to carry out.

If your employee decides to end their maternity leave early to enable them to be furloughed (with your agreement), they will need to give you at least eight weeks’ notice of their return to work, but you can agree to shorter notice in certain circumstances. You will not be able to furlough them until the end of the eight weeks or the date that you have agreed they can return to work.