From 1 December 2020, employers will no longer be able to claim under the Extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Extended CJRS) if an employee is under notice of termination. This change appears, along with a number of other changes, in the new Treasury Direction and in further updates to the Government guidance that were issued on 13 November.
Though it confirms that the Extended CJRS will run from 1 November to 31 March 2021, the new Treasury Direction will only apply in its current form until 31 January 2021, when the operation of the Extended CJRS is due to be reviewed.
We are in the process of updating our FAQs on the Extended CJRS to reflect the new Treasury Direction and Government guidance. However, some key points to note are as follows:
- In a significant departure from the previous operation of the CJRS, from 1 December 2020, employers can no longer claim a grant under the Extended CJRS for any day that an employee is serving contractual or statutory notice. The wording of the updated Treasury Direction indicates that it is only during the notice period that employers cannot claim, therefore our view is that employers can continue to claim for affected employees during a redundancy consultation process before notice is given. Note also that the new prohibition on claiming under the Extended CJRS for notice periods is not limited to redundancy terminations and therefore applies whether an employee has been dismissed, has resigned or is retiring.
- Information about employers who make a claim under the Extended CJRS scheme in December 2020 or January 2021 will be published by HMRC (probably on .gov.uk). This will include the amount (or a reasonable indication of the amount) that you have claimed. An exception may be made for employers who can show that publication would expose their workforce to “serious risk of violence or intimidation”.
- Agreements to place an employee on furlough under the Extended CJRS must be made before the period of furlough begins. However, they can be subsequently varied to reflect any variation agreed between the employer and the employee during the period to which the claims relate. (There is an exception permitting retrospective agreements to cover the period from 1 November to 13 November, providing the agreement was made by 13 November.)
The Treasury Direction also includes significant amounts of detail on eligibility, how to make a claim and how to calculate the amounts that can be claimed for.
How we can help
We are currently updating our FAQs on the Extended CJRS. We recommend that you read these carefully when they have been updated to reflect the new Treasury Direction and Government guidance.
We are also in the process of updating our template Full and Flexible Furlough Letters, which will be available here.
If you are a Make UK member, please feel free to contact your adviser with any queries you wish to discuss. Alternatively, non-members are welcome to call us on 0808 168 5874, or email [email protected].
Finally, look out for our latest weekly vlog, Lockdown Lowdown: The Headlines for HR Managers. The next episode is due out at the end of this week.