By Angela Strzyzewska, Solicitor.
Since the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the CJRS) was announced on 26 March 2020 there have been many versions of the Government’s guidance on the CJRS.
This week, further key changes have been made to the Government’s guidance on the CJRS, in the wake of the CJRS portal’s first week in operation.
These can be summarised as follows:
- Collective agreement reached between an employer and a trade union to furlough workers will be an acceptable form of consent for the purpose of a CJRS claim.
- An employee who was on a fixed term contract can be re-employed, furloughed and claimed for if either: (a) their contract expired after 28 February 2020 and an RTI payment submission was notified to HMRC on/before 28 February 2020; or (b) it expired after 19 March 2020 and an RTI payment submission was notified to HMRC on/before 19 March 2020. If the fixed term contract has not yet expired, it can be extended or renewed, and they can be furloughed and claimed for under the CJRS.
- If a group of companies had multiple PAYE schemes and transferred all employees into a new consolidated PAYE scheme after 28 February 2020, they will be eligible to furlough those employees and claim for them under the CJRS.
- Union or non-union representatives (including elected workforce representatives) may undertake duties/activities for the individual or collective representation of other workers whilst furloughed (such as during TUPE or redundancy consultation), provided they do not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of, the organisation which has furloughed them or any linked or associated organisation.
- Company directors paid annually can be furloughed and claimed for via the CJRS provided they meet certain conditions, including being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on/or before 19 March 2020 in relation to a payment of earnings in the 2019/20 tax year.
- Where employees transferred to a new employer via TUPE on/after 28 February 2020, the new employer can claim for those employees under the CJRS if the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.
- The normal rules for all forms of family-related leave and pay apply irrespective of whether an employee has been furloughed (and furlough must end before the start of the leave). However, new regulations have been introduced which provide that where an employee was furloughed and then started a form of family-related leave on or after 25 April 2020, their statutory pay for that leave should be calculated based on the pay they would have received if not furloughed.
The Government launched a coronavirus business support finder tool on 20 April 2020 which uses an online questionnaire to identify whether a business or self-employed person could be entitled for support from various government schemes, including the CJRS. This can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.
If you would like to discuss the above, or you require support or advice on any other employment law matters, please do not hesitate to contact the team on 0141 331 5150.