Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – updated guidance and new Treasury Direction

Howes Percival

17th November 2020

Updates to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”) guidance and a corresponding Treasury Direction were published on 13 November 2020. The Treasury Direction, which formally extends the CJRS from 1 November 2020 until 31 March 2021, outlines how it will operate between 1 November 2020 and 31 January 2021. The key highlights from both the updated guidance and Treasury Direction include:

  • No claim can be made where the claim period relates to 1 December 2020 or after and a person is serving a contractual or statutory notice period (including notice served because of retirement or resignation). Claims relating to November 2020 can include those serving statutory or contractual notice.
  • HMRC will publish employer names, an indication of the value of the claim and, for companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), the company registration number of those who have made claims under the CJRS for the month of December onwards.
  • HMRC will not publish employer details where doing so would result in a serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain individuals (e.g. an employer’s director or staff). Further details regarding this will be available soon and prior to the first publication date.
  • Where an employee ends their maternity leave early to enable them to be furloughed (with the employer’s agreement), they will need to give at least 8 weeks’ notice of their return to work, although shorter notice can be agreed in “certain circumstances”. The employer will not be able to furlough the employee until the end of the 8-week period, or until the date that the employer has agreed they can return to work.
  • Any employee made redundant, or who has stopped working for the employer on or after 23 September 2020, can be re-employed and put on furlough. This applies provided the employee was employed on 23 September 2020 and the employer 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.
  • Employers can claim under the CJRS before, during, or after they process their payroll as long as the claim is submitted by the relevant claim deadline. No claim can be submitted more than 14 days before the employer’s claim period end date.
  • When making a claim, the employer does not have to wait until the end date of the previously made claim and can claim more than 14 days in advance of the pay date (for example, if the employer pays in arrears).
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus has been withdrawn given that the purpose of it has been superseded by the extension of the CJRS.
  • Further guidance will be published in late November 2020 and a fifth Treasury Direction (applying after 31 January 2021) will also be published in due course.

Kate Melton comments:

“The updates to the CJRS, in particular the restrictions on claiming notice pay from 1 December onwards, will have a profound impact on those businesses planning or in the process of making redundancies. Employers should also be aware of HMRC’s intention to publish information about CJRS claims for the month of December onwards, which may act as a deterrent to some claiming.
As ever, the guidance continues to change in line with the government’s response to the pandemic. The current guidance covers claims periods between 1 November 2020 and 31 January 2021 and further changes are expected in subsequent guidance, covering the period of 1 February 2021 to 31 March 2021. To discuss the scheme in more detail contact a member of the team here.”

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