On 23 April 2020, the Government issued further updates to its employer and employee guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and to its guidance on how to work out 80% of wages.
A summary of the main changes is as follows:
- A collective agreement reached between an employer and a trade union is acceptable evidence that a furloughed employee agreed to be furloughed (although once a collective agreement is reached employers must still write to individual employees to confirm that they have been furloughed).
- The options for rehiring employees are clarified, including confirmation that it is possible to rehire and furlough those who were made redundant or who left the business after 19 March, and those on fixed-term contracts that have ended.
- There is confirmation that it is up to the employer to decide on the length of each claim period. However, employers still have to include all of the employees they want to furlough for each claim period, because it is not possible to make another claim for the same period or one that overlaps with it. Nor is it currently possible to amend a claim once made, but HMRC are looking at whether they can develop a process to allow this.
There is no further guidance on the position of shielding/sick workers, backdating furlough, whether employers can require employees to take holiday during furlough, or exactly which payments are included in wages.
We have updated our FAQs to take account of these latest changes. We recommend that you check our FAQs for updates on a regular basis, given the frequency of updates to Government guidance.