Coronavirus Guidance for Employers - Click Here

Furlough Again!

There have been more developments in relation to the government furlough scheme with further changes to the government guidance being made.

So, what are some of the main developments?

  • The qualifying date, when the employee has to have been on the employer’s payroll, has changed from 28th February to 19th March 2020. The change follows criticism that the furlough scheme left people who changed employers after the previous 28th February cut-off date without any income. The new date is intended to strike a balance between bringing more employees into the scope of the scheme whilst also guarding the government against fraud.

In respect of employees that you can claim for, the revised guidance now says that: ‘You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020.This means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020.’

There is also guidance regarding employees who have recently transferred under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE).

  • The updated guidance clarifies that employees who were on an employer’s payroll on 28th February 2020 but were subsequently made redundant, or otherwise left their employment before 19th March 2020, can be furloughed if they were or are re-employed, whether this is before or after 19th March 2020.

However, the guidance also states that ‘If an employee has had multiple employers over the past year, has only worked for one of them at any one time, and is being furloughed by their current employer, their former employer/s should not re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the scheme.’

If you are considering re-employing any employee or you receive a request from a former employee to do so, please contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd for advice on the employment law aspects of your case before taking any action.

  • When calculating how much an employer can claim, the reference period for salaried employees is now the last pay period prior to 19th March 2020. However, the guidance does go on to say that ‘if, based on previous guidance, you have calculated your claim based on the employee’s salary as at 28 February 2020 (and this differs from their salary in their last pay period prior to 19 March 2020) you can choose to still use this calculation for your first claim’.

You can access the updated government guidance here 

Are you prepared for the portal?

As you will no doubt already be aware the online portal employers will use to make a claim under the scheme is going live on Monday. If you are one of the many employers who will be looking to make a claim it’s a good idea to make sure you are prepared and have everything you need ready, especially if you are currently working remotely.

It’s worth noting from the government guidance that you will need:

  • Your employer PAYE reference number
  • The number of employees being furloughed
  • National Insurance Numbers for the furloughed employees
  • Names of the furloughed employees
  • Payroll/employee number for the furloughed employees (optional)
  • Your Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number
  • The claim period (start and end date)
  • Amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 consecutive weeks)
  • Your bank account number and sort code
  • Your contact name
  • Your phone number
  • You will need to calculate the amount you are claiming.

To help you be prepared for what you can expect, it’s worth noting that if you have fewer than 100 furloughed employees the guidance says that you will be asked to enter details of each employee you are claiming for directly into the system – this will include their name, National Insurance number, claim period and claim amount, and payroll/employee number (optional). If you have 100 or more furloughed employees, you will be asked to upload a file in a permissible format with the information rather than input it directly into the system.

If you are going to be using the portal next week we hope you find it user friendly and all goes well.

If you would like assistance with an employment law aspect of furlough or with any employment law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.