New guidance covers which employers are eligible, and how much they can claim to cover wages for employees on temporary leave due to COVID-19
The government has issued further guidance in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The new guidance advises that the new scheme - that enables all employers to claim for 80 per cent of the usual monthly wage costs of furloughed employees (employees on a leave of absence) up to £2,500 - is expected to be up and running by the end of April 2020 and that all furloughed employees are covered if on an employer’s PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020, including those working for charities, recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE), public authorities and those on flexible or zero-hour contracts.
Providing details of the general entitlement conditions for the subsidy - further to the initial details issued on 21 March 2020 - the new guidance advises that -
- employers are eligible for the subsidy for a particular employee only if the employee does not undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation;
- if an employee is working, but on reduced hours, or for reduced pay, they will not be eligible for the scheme;
- employees placed on unpaid leave prior to 28 February 2020 cannot be furloughed;
- employers need only write to their employee confirming that they have been furloughed and keep a record in order to be able to claim a subsidy; and
- for employees whose pay varies, or who have just started work, calculation of pay varies according to how long they have been employed, including by averaging over the 2019/2020 tax year or pro-rata calculations.
In addition, the guidance provides advice on entitlement for employees with particular circumstances, including that -
- employees on sick leave or self-isolating should get statutory sick pay, but can be furloughed after this;
- employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance can be placed on furlough;
- employees that have more than one employer can be furloughed for each job, and the 80 per cent wage cap applies to each employer individually;
- a furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as they do not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of the organisation; and
- normal rules apply if an employee is eligible for statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance, and they will be entitled to claim up to 39 weeks of statutory pay or allowance (with the same principles applying where an employee qualifies for contractual adoption, paternity or shared parental pay).
For more information see Claim for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from gov.uk