Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Furlough Leave Update 22 April 2020
The HMRC Portal is now open for employers to claim grants for Furloughed workers. These payments are then expected to be with applicants from 30th April. HMRC believe the portal can handle 450,000 applications per hour, but their call centre may crash if there is a problem. In addition:
1. HMRC expect to process all future applications within 4-6 days, to enable anti-fraud checks.
2. Applications can be made dependent on pay frequencies, so weekly, fortnightly or monthly in most cases.
3. Applications can be made 14 days in advance of the wages being paid.
4. HMRC are launching a hotline for whistle blowing on employers acting fraudulently.
5. Fraudulent claims will be dealt with as criminal activities [see our previous articles on the rules, such as no work and retention of furlough letters for 5 years].
TUPE Rules Update
Where contracts for services change hands after 28th February 2020, and TUPE rules (Transfer of Undertaking [Protection of Employment] Regulations 2006) apply, then protected workers can be furloughed. The rules currently say that employees that were not on payroll before 28th February 2020 cannot be furloughed, but this does not apply to workers protected under TUPE.
Taking Annual Leave While on Furlough
It is widely accepted, but still absent within the furlough rules, that holidays can be taken, and indeed enforced with double the notice, without breaking the 3-week period thus allowing the grant application to continue. Holiday pay must be paid at the normal rate of pay, which will mean topping up the grant received.
Sick Pay While on Furlough
Employees do not qualify for SSP if:
· they are furloughed as part of the coronavirus job retention scheme.
· they received Employment Support Allowance within 12 weeks of starting or returning to work for you.
If an employee is not entitled to SSP and has been off sick for four or more consecutive days, they may be entitled to state Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
If you have not yet put staff on Furlough leave, or if your notification was not given in writing, you can download a FREE Furlough Letter Template here. Once issued, you must keep a copy on record for five years for HMRC purposes. Should you be preparing to restructure your company, we have drawn up a Redundancy Process map that is also FREE to download.
THSP’s employment law team are happy to discuss these matters. Just phone us on 03456 122144.
Director, Employment Law